Thursday, November 18, 2010

Canadian Quakin'

Earlier this week there was a massive explosion at a Cancun hotel that left seven people dead, and appeared to have been caused by swamp gas, proving once and for all that literally everything in Mexico can, and eventually will, kill you. (Cancun, incidentally, has never been more affordable!) Our analysts tend to doubt the swamp gas theory, since it would essentially be unprecedented in human history, but maybe that's what makes Mexico so "magical."

Five of the dead were Canadian citizens, and while one could argue that death in Mexico is preferable to being alive in Alberta in November, the Canadian press has gone predictably hysterical, and has been cataloging every Canadian who's died in Mexico, going all the way back to 2006 (the date Canadian newspapers first went online). And the total body count for the last four years is....116 - a number that includes accidents, drownings and suicides. The number of homicides or suspicious deaths comes to a whopping 15. But even using the higher number, it means that of the five million Canadians who have ventured into the Mexican killing fields over the past four years, 99.99776% of them have managed to get out of here alive.

But this is where it gets interesting. Annual Canadian deaths here tally about 29, whereas Americans die at a rate of about 223 a year. But 12 times as many Americans visit Mexico as Canadians. If we divide the American death toll by 12, we get 18. And 18, we need not point out, is a considerably smaller number than 29.

In other words, the hysterical Canadian press may be on to something. Canadians visiting Mexico die at a rate 61% higher than their American counterparts.

(While there's of course nothing funny about dying, we just remembered all the Canadians we met years ago in Europe, with those enormous Canadian flags sewn onto their backpacks so they wouldn't be mistaken for Americans, and we chuckled. Sorry.)

But this begs the question, why? Canadians are a hale and hearty, gun-loving people who endure sub-zero temperatures in the summer and six months of darkness a year. They share their land with wild elk and polar bears. But put them in Mexico and they go all harp seal on you. Why? We frankly have no idea, but welcome our (surprisingly high) number of Canadian readers to chime in.

Of course, while it's fun to scream about bloodshed in Mexico, the Canadaian press might want to look a little closer to their own southern border. The research interns are off for the holidays, so we haven't gotten very solid statistics on Canadians slaughtered in the US, except for one recent year. While 29 Canucks a year have been dying in violence-plagued Mexico, a mere 572 died on American soil in 2004. We have no reason to believe that was an especially bad year for Canadians in the US. Adjusting for the fact that 15 times as many Canadians visit the US as they do Mexico, the US is still 31% deadlier for Canadians tourists than Mexico is.

Fortunately, the Canadian public seems aware of this.

As the family of a 51-year-old Ottawa-area man plan the repatriation of his remains after discovering his body stuffed in the trunk of a torched rental car in Mexico, the country’s tourist board is preparing to release news that more Canadians visited Mexico this year than ever before...

More Canadians have visited Mexico each year for the past six years. In 2009, a record 1,222,739 Canadians visited. This year’s total will exceed that by a wide margin. Almost a million came in the first half of 2010 alone, an increase of more than 20% over the same period last year, according to Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism.

And it's never been more affordable!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"But this is where it gets interesting. Annual Canadian deaths here tally about 29, whereas Americans die at a rate of about 223 a year. But 12 times as many Americans visit Mexico as Canadians. If we divide the American death toll by 12, we get 18. And 18, we need not point out, is a considerably smaller number than 29."

Does Burro Hall have an income tax preparation service? You work magic with numbers.

Anonymous said...

at last Cancun can be reach by mexicans once more, it is affordable, and probably they are starting to put prices in pesos once again, like in the 80's, when I paid 10 pesos to enter Xcaret, that now costs 50usd

Anonymous said...

It was a hotel in Playa del Carmen not Cancun!!

DR. Science said...

CNN) -- The preliminary investigation into a hotel explosion in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, points to swamp gas and a leaking pipe as possible causes, the Quintana Roo state attorney general told CNN Tuesday.

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I'll go with the leaking pipe theory.