Friday, August 28, 2015

Shorter Lives, Republican Votes


Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation/Daily Yonder The map shows the 737 counties where women's longevity was declining from 1997 to 2007. Counties in red voted for John McCain in 2008. Those in blue voted for Democrat Barack Obama.

There are 737 counties in the U.S. where health conditions are so poor that the length of women’s lives has been declining.

Those counties voted overwhelmingly for Republican John McCain in 2008.

In the counties where female longevity is declining, McCain won 61.4% of the vote in 2008. In all U.S. counties, the Republican won 45.6% of the ballots cast in the last election.

Barack Obama won 38.6% of the vote in the counties with falling women’s longevity while winning the presidency with 52.9% of the ballots nationally.

The map above shows all 737 counties with declining female longevity and how they voted in 2009. Red counties voted for McCain; blue for Obama. Click on the map to see a larger version.

Most of these counties are rural. Of the 737 counties with falling female life spans, 561 are rural, 138 are exurban (counties in metro areas, but rural in character) and 38 are in cities. 

Declining longevity is a new phenomenon in the U.S., where life spans have been lengthening in every community for decades. 

Nearly one out of every four rural residents lives in a county where women are living shorter lives. Only 2.3% of city dwellers live in counties with declining female longevity; in exurban counties, it’s 20.2%.

(For a description of the research and full maps of all rural counties, go here.) 

The voting percentages from 2008 are consistent across rural, urban and exurban communities. In all geographies, the Democratic vote was lower in those communities where life expectancy for women was declining.

The gap is largest among city voters. Urban counties with stable or rising female life spans had 55.8% majorities for President Obama — more than 15 percentage points higher than in urban counties with declining female longevity.

The gap in rural America was less than seven points.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama made health care a central theme of his campaign. As president, he pushed through a major reform of the health care system.



Longer Lives, Republican Votes

There are as many or more counties with Republican votes where women's life expectancy didn't decline.

Look at the county-by-county NYT map:

There is a lot of mis-informed or thoughtless speculation on the geographical pattern of this news.  Even the researchers have blamed it on obesity and smoking (blaming the victims for their poor behavior.)  But obesity and diabetes are high in many areas where women's life expectancy didn't decline.  Everyone should do correlations before attributing causes - and, of course, posit some logical causative link for correlations claimed - what would the link between Presidential votes and longevity be - especially sonce some of those counties vote heavily Democratic for other offices?


Good comments.... In fact, we're working now on an analysis of longevity and rural counties -- which factors seem to be causing the decline.

This article, however, didn't say that voting in any shape or fashion resulted in a change in longevity. It merely shows that where health and (perhaps) health care is so bad that lives are growing shorter as a whole voted Republican in '08. Really, just an observation. 

Oh, and if you scroll down the page, you'll see ALL rural counties mapped as well as lists of counties with long and short life spans.