Mortality rates are rising in 43% of U.S. counties, as illustrated by this map from health researcher Bill Gardner. It's part of a research article by David Kindig and Erika Cheng, recently published in the journal Health Affairs — as Gardner notes, it "depicts a shocking pattern of female hardship, primarily in the southeast and midwest."

Kindig and Cheng found that the availability of health care (measured by the number of primary care providers or percentage of uninsured) didn't make a difference when it came to mortality rates, but that socioeconomic factors did:

"Many people believe that medical care and individual behaviors such as exercise, diet, and smoking are the primary reasons for declines in health. We did find significant associations between mortality rates and some of these factors, such as smoking rates for both sexes. But socioeconomic factors such as the percentage of a county's population with a college education and the rate of children living in poverty had equally strong or stronger relationships to fluctuations in mortality rates."

[h/t Washington Post]