This Map of America’s Female Mortality Rates Isn't Pretty

Illustration for article titled This Map of America’s Female Mortality Rates Isnt Pretty

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."

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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."

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[h/t Washington Post]

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DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

Katie,

Actually, one way to REALLY hit home on this one is to show the map for men, which I have attached. Now we see how much worse off the women are, given that the men are showing almost across-the-board improvement.

As far as causes, I really think more is needed. The best I found in the original study was: "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."

This is really distressing, because it's such a market gap. Really really distressing. Thanks GOP! You're the best!