There Is A Database For The Dead & Your Name Might Be In It

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Just in case your week is already a little too warm and fuzzy, here's some decidedly unsettling news from, of all places, the Social Security Administration. Since 1936, it has recorded the death of every U.S. citizen. And as administrations do, it's maintained a database of all of them. Of course, every death comes a name and date attached. From time to time, these names repeat themselves. Aren't you just dying to know if someone with your name has died in the last 80 years? Enter the Social Security Death Master File — seriously, that's its official name bestowed upon it by The Government. The Death Master File, for short, is an interactive version of that database, where users may search any name imaginable, perhaps their own name, and learn all sorts of useful, definitely-not-prophetic, things. You can search by just a first name or both first and last, if you're really looking for specificity, and not only will you learn how many times people with that name have died, you can see how many people have been born with that name — if you're interested in some warm and fuzzies after all. The deeper you go into the database, the more detailed the information becomes. For the bravest among us, you can even get a life expectancy prediction based on your age. Is it just us, or has Halloween come early this year? Head over to the New Republic to try the Social Security Death Master File for yourself — if you dare.

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