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17 Random Statistics That Will Actually Surprise You

Sarah grew up in Monterey, CA and now lives in Los Angeles. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying a good book, fine wine, sunflowers and long walks on the beach.

Answering 'what are the odds?' for everything from becoming rich to shark attacks

"You're more likely to die driving to work than to be eaten by a shark!" We're willing to bet you've heard this, like, a million times — right?

People throw out random statements like that all the time, preaching them as truth. And it got us wondering: How many of these statistical musings are actually true? And which statistic will actually surprise us?

So we did a little research to get the real lowdown on the odds — and we discovered some very interesting information.

Before we dive in, though, keep this in mind: A number of factors affect the real odds of something, especially your specific behavior. Someone who surfs everyday has a greater likelihood of being attacked by a shark than someone who never goes into the water, for instance.

OK, that being said, we rounded up some interesting general stats.

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1. Odds of being called to “Come on down!” on The Price Is Right — 1 in 36

One in 36? Not too shabby. Given the stats on becoming a billionaire or winning the lotto, which we cover later, this is pretty good news.

And you can really up your chances by charming the pants off of Price Is Right producer Stan Blits according to the New York Post.

2. Odds of being audited by the IRS — 1 in 160

This number seems high, but don't panic. This factors in all tax returns filed — including those filed by billionaires and huge corporations. But if you are earning a middle-class income, you don't have a whole lot to worry about.

"If you earn less than $200,000 annually and don’t attach Schedules C or E to your tax return, statistically speaking, you have a better chance of being abducted by aliens or dating Taylor Swift than being audited," says Forbes.

3. Odds of being involved in a drunk driving crash — 2 out of 3

Two out of 3 people will be involved in a drunk-driving accident in their lifetime, according to MADD. Lower your risk by always designating a driver.

4. Odds of being born with 11 fingers or toes — 1 in 500

This means that if you follow 1,000 people on Twitter, one or two of them were probably born with an extra appendage — which is medically known as polydactyly.

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5. Odds of winning an Oscar — 1 in 11,500

Winning an Oscar isn't as hard as we thought, actually! Keep in mind, though, your odds are zero if you don't try. However, the odds of becoming a movie star are 1 in 1,190,000 according to William Morrow's The Book of Odds. Not exactly encouraging.

6. Odds of finding a pearl in an oyster — 1 in 12,000

Given how hard it is to shuck an oyster, we hardly think it’s worth it.

7. Odds of being drafted by the NBA — 1 in 3,333 for men, 1 in 5,000 for women

Don't mean to put a damper on your dreams, but yikes.

8. Odds of going blind after laser eye surgery — 1 in 5 million

According to London Vision Clinic, if you choose a good surgeon your chances of going blind are extremely slim.

9. Odds of being injured by a toilet — 1 in 10,000

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a whole study about nonfatal bathroom injuries that's definitely worth reading over.

10. Odds of dying in an airplane crash — 1 in 205,552

Not nearly bad as compared to cars... or motorcycles, on which you have a 1 in 846 chance of dying according to the National Safety Council.

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11. Odds of getting killed by fireworks — 1 in 340,733

Odds by being killed by fireworks aren't super-high according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, but it does happen. And as you can imagine, most of those deaths occur on the Fourth of July.

12. Odds of being struck by lightning — 1 in 114,195

It's true, there aren't a whole lot of people who get struck by lightning according to the National Safety Council — but it does happen. Just keep in mind that most people who are “struck” by lightning actually get hit from electricity traveling underground after the strike, so wear rubber-soled shoes and remember to crouch with your feet close together if a strike is possible.

13. Odds of becoming a billionaire — pretty much none

Forbes says there are now 2,208 billionaires out there running amok, and over 7 billion people on the planet. You do the math.

14. Odds falling to your death — 1 in 119

That's a pretty alarming statistic from the National Safety Council, right? To fall and die?

15. Odds of getting attacked by a shark — 1 in 3,748,067

Shark attacks get all kinds of media attention, but turns out they hardly ever happen according to the International Shark Attack File. You're actually much more likely to die as a result of coming into contact with hornets, wasps or bees (1 in 54,093) than even being bitten by a shark according to the National Safety Council.

16. Odds of winning $1 million in the McDonald’s Monopoly game — 1 in 451,822,158

Um, yeah, according to research done by Canadian structural engineer Michael Ross, you're gonna have to eat a whole lotta Mickey D's to win that money.

17. Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot — 1 in 292,000,000

Answering 'what are the odds?' for everything from becoming rich to shark attacks
Image: Giphy

At least you can reach for the stars and win an Oscar, right?

A version of this article was originally published in December 2013.

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