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How You Die Depends On Where You Live

Last update on: Mar 14 2020

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analyzed cause of death data in the U.S. and tabulated how the causes vary around the country. It turns out that some causes of death are disappearing in some areas or rising rapidly in other areas. The study doesn’t try to explain the trends. Instead, the authors hope public health authorities in different areas will use the data to explore what’s happening in their areas and perhaps implement changes. The article I linked to, however, does offer explanations for some of the areas.

While transportation-related deaths went down 50 percent or more in most of New England and California, much of the central United States saw much more modest declines. Troublingly, vehicle-related deaths increased by as much as 45 percent in rural areas of Appalachia and the South. Those increases have previously been shown to be linked to the infrastructure of rural areas. Country roads are less likely to be divided, making head-on collisions more common. A trend of rural hospital closings may also make it harder for crash victims to get treatment in time to save their lives.




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