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Research Article

Even As Mortality Fell In Most US Counties, Female Mortality Nonetheless Rose In 42.8 Percent Of Counties From 1992 To 2006

Affiliations
  1. David A. Kindig ( [email protected] ) is a professor emeritus of population health sciences and founder of the Population Health Institute at the School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  2. Erika R. Cheng is a doctoral candidate and research assistant in the Department of Population Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
PUBLISHED:No Accesshttps://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0892

Researchers increasingly track variations in health outcomes across counties in the United States, but current ranking methods do not reflect changes in health outcomes over time. We examined trends in male and female mortality rates from 1992–96 to 2002–06 in 3,140 US counties. We found that female mortality rates increased in 42.8 percent of counties, while male mortality rates increased in only 3.4 percent. Several factors, including higher education levels, not being in the South or West, and low smoking rates, were associated with lower mortality rates. Medical care variables, such as proportions of primary care providers, were not associated with lower rates. These findings suggest that improving health outcomes across the United States will require increased public and private investment in the social and environmental determinants of health—beyond an exclusive focus on access to care or individual health behavior.

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