Profiling causes of death across America

By DEBORA RUBI

The World Life Expectancy site (www.worldlifeexpectancy) provides a plethora of information on leading causes of death in the United States. The site was created by LeDuc Media to help people live longer, safer lives.

The site provides a list of scholarly institutions that use it, giving credibility to the site while also showing the many countries throughout the world where it is being viewed.

There is also a link to research done through the site on various topics including unemployment and life expectancy, cancer clusters in the U.S., causes of death divided by age, and world alcohol rankings.

Really the information on the site is overwhelming, with each new infographic diving the statistics creating a whole new potential for stories explaining why the statistics are divided as they are.

As an example we’ll look at the infographic dividing the 15 leading causes of death: heart, cancer, stroke, lung, accidents, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, influenza, kidney, blood pleasure, suicide, liver, and hypertension.

By clicking on each specific cause, the map is colored by county to highlight areas according to their risk: high (red), average (gray), blue (low).

Map shows causes of death across America.

Viewing the map as a whole, interesting patterns arise. The Bible Belt seems to have high risk in almost every category except for suicide (which could be explained by the taboo attached to suicide in Christianity), but it’s still an interesting story to analyze: why exactly is the Bible Belt such a high risk area? Another noticeable cluster is the predominance for suicide in the Western Coast, with almost every county (outside of California) showing a high risk.

On a more localized note, clicking through the causes helps to determine that Miami-Dade County, despite its reputation as not being one of the safest counties in the country, has low risks for almost all causes (including suicide) while only showing high risk in homicide.

Already story ideas can be written explaining why this is true of Miami-Dade, while also a profile on how the reporting of homicides (low on the list of top 15) is over-hyped in the country do to its violent nature, when other threats can be found unperceived to most.

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