Conservative concern? Study finds Americans in ‘red states’ more likely to die early

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — U.S. states with liberal policies toward working conditions, gun safety, and tobacco save hundreds of thousands of Americans’ lives each year, new research finds.

If individual state governments across the country had changed to a “fully conservative orientation” in 2019, more than 217,000 lives may have been lost in that year alone, according to a new study on rising U.S. mortality rates. States with liberal policies regarding the environment, gun safety, labor, economic taxes, and tobacco taxes have lower mortality rates, particularly among working-age American men.

The study authors sought potential macro-policy answers for why Americans as a whole die at a younger age than most other high-income countries. More specifically, the team wanted to find out why people who live in states with conservative policies are dying off earlier from cardiovascular or alcohol-related causes.

They analyzed working-age mortality rates and state-versus-state policies from 1999 to 2019. Their research honed in on rising death rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD), alcohol-induced causes, suicide, and drug poisoning fatalities.

The report highlights how state policies on the macro level trickle down to the meso-level of one’s community, family and work structures, and then even further down into shaping individuals’ economic circumstances. Examples they give are U.S. state minimum wage levels and earned income tax credits. Additionally, family conditions are affected via paid-leave and access to reproductive health care and environmental conditions via policies on housing, food deserts, and green space. An individual’s behaviors are also nuanced via state laws on tobacco taxes and marijuana legalization.

“State policies have hyperpolarized during this period, with many states’ policy contexts moving toward more extreme ‘left’ or ‘right’ positions on the political spectrum,” the researchers write in the journal PLoS ONE.

Where you live in the U.S. could add 7 years to your life

Americans currently die an average of 5.7 years earlier than people in Japan, 3.3 years earlier than Canadians, and 2.2 years before their counterparts in the United Kingdom. However, there is a stark contrast between state-by-state life expectancy rates, which range from 74.4 years in Mississippi up to 81 years in Hawaii. U.S. life expectancy rates have stagnated in recent years because of rising mortality rates among adults between 25 to 64 years-old — predominately one’s prime years in the workforce.

“U.S. state policies in recent decades may have contributed to the high and rising mortality rates of working-age adults. Changing state policies could prevent thousands of deaths every year from cardiovascular disease, suicide, alcohol, and drug poisoning,” the study authors write in a media release.

The study authors reiterate that “no single factor” is capable of explaining the increase in U.S. mortality rates at younger and younger ages. Additionally, factors like lower tax rates for businesses have led many Americans to move out of so-called blue states and into red states in recent years.

Simulations in the study suggest that changing “all policies in all states to a fully liberal orientation” could have preserved 171,030 lives in 2019. On the other hand, changing such state policies to a fully conservative orientation may have cost 217,635 lives.

Numerous recent studies tie policy issues into lifestyle factors which range from happiness to life expectancy. A Brigham and Women’s Hospital “mortality gap” study similarly found that people who live in Republican-led counties die younger than those under Democratic-led local policies. The gap found heart disease and cancer mortality rates are widening between White Americans who live in conservative or liberal municipalities – with GOP-led counties having increasingly worse death rates.

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      1. That’s you’re comment? So impressive. A small brain in an semi- adult body, hilarious!
        Burka Durga camel licker.

  1. The differences in those numbers are surprisingly slight, given the overall #’s of deaths.
    If you look up the list of most dangerous jobs in the country and then look at where each of these industries are concentrated, you get a very interesting piece of this picture.

  2. Hmmm….. Only two states are mentioned in the article. Mississippi, one of the poorest, and Hawaii, one of the wealthiest. Based on that alone an equally valid correlation is that the death rates are tied to geography and/or economic conditions.

    The article has a long ways to go to convince me.

  3. This read like a Biden speech. Very interesting information if true. But the heavy bias suggests it is not.

  4. This is timely. I was wondering if the fed gave special vacc doses to red states.
    Up in Canada, deaths were higher in areas that were unfriendly to Trudeau.

    1. Yup, Conservatives didn’t take the vaccine and died, removing themselves from the gene pool.

      The world’s collective IQ increased as a result.

        1. Unlike Conservatives I can add and subtract, and do statistical analysis.

          So ya… .I know… Just based on the stats.

          You on the other hand, know nothing, because you are willfully ignornat.

          1. who was it that first noted “an untrained person uses statistics as a drunkard uses a lamp post – for support rather than illumination”. I doubt you are trained.

      1. Just let big Pharma keep injecting you. Five shots in two year now and these people are still coming down with Covid19. The science is now showing vaccinated people are more likely to get Covid than those who did not take the poison.

  5. When will people see that any “study” can be manipulated to get the results they want. It’s easy with todays tools (computers) to scan the data and tweak the demographics, parameters, time frame etc. until the results come up what they want. Just because they say “study” does not make it legit…..

  6. And we die happier and with more love around us. We are also, probably, less likely to die at the hand of another as most of us appreciate our 2nd Amendment.

        1. I am a paragon of logic and reason.

          Republicans = A Cancer that is destroying America.

          The world is laughing.

  7. Blue state people live longer, thus consuming more and causing more global warming. Two types of people in the blue states. Rich and those that live on the government dime. Both do less and the rich have better health care.
    Red state people are more of the middle working class and just work their selves to death.
    Support death, it slows global warming.

  8. This article is what is called “Disinformation”.
    It’s printed so it makes it so? It’s how we got Climate Change.

    1. Golly and the scientists are saying that we got global warming by emitting trillions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

      Maybe Republicans die early because with their heads up their backsides, they can’t breathe.

  9. I much prefer the cuisine and lifestyle of red states. I much prefer Dallas Cowboy cheer leaders over Boston’s insufferable “Karen’s”. I’ll take the state where they call sushi, “bait”.

  10. Eh, This study has to have been better done than this article shows or it is worthless. There’s been a huge population shift from blue to red states, and yes the article notes that, but that would perhaps mean that the blue-state people were not so healthy. Especially since many of the red states are in warmer climates and older people retire there. By the time someone retires, they have already done the things that will shorten or lengthen life span.

    You’d have to at least know where these people came from pre-1999. Is this early death thing across the state or in certain cities? HOW does political ideology impact life span? Did they control for demographic differences? Did they control for (illegal) immigration? More questions than answers so I’ll file this in the circular file for now.

  11. Let us consider alternate explanations. Most Democrat counties are urban or the near suburbs. They have the hospitals, ambulances and cancer treatment centers you need to survive a heart attack, stroke or cancer. Left-leaning places also include California and Hawaii (ideal climate) and exclude most of tornado alley.

    Liberal policies include heavy taxation. I suspect that resources are extracted from rural people and used to fund amenities for the urban residents. Thus the longer life could be the result of a form of tax slavery, where the rural slaves die young to pay for the extra years of life of the city folk.

    Back in 2009, the percent of people employed in rural areas and urban areas was equal. Since then a gap occurred and has widened until it is now a 10% difference. This is the place to start looking for answers.

  12. The first thing you note, if you are a Northerner, when you go down South, is how fat people are south of the Mason Dixon Line. That obesity, endemic to the South, is the big killer bar none/

  13. Oh my God this article…

    From paragraph one: “U.S. states with liberal policies toward working conditions, gun safety, and tobacco save hundreds of thousands of Americans’ lives each year, new research finds.”

    From paragraph four: “Their research honed in on rising death rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD), alcohol-induced causes, suicide, and drug poisoning fatalities.”

    So, while the author of this column wanted to link it to one set of variables, the study itself looked at a completely different set. Working conditions, gun safety, and tobacco weren’t even looked at. In fact, I don’t think that they wanted to take a hard look at “gun safety” since murder rates and gun deaths trend higher in more urban blue states and counties.

    The entire study is biased at the surface. Trying to link heart disease to political orientation is very long stretch. Linking it to diet and exercise, which is completely different in rural areas than in more urban environs, is probably a better starting point.

    How in the world is an intellectually honest person going to take this garbage seriously?

  14. They die sooner because they had to work for a living and pay taxes so the blue states can get what they need…. welfare, union pensions and other entitlements….

  15. Vendicar , we would all prefer it if you would pull your thumb out of your arse and kindly self immolate. It would make the world a better place.

  16. Oh, don’t be fooled. Blue staters die early too. It’s just that they still continue to vote and receive welfare checks.

  17. This undoubtedly has more to do with life-style choices (diet, exercise, substance use) than governance. Correlation does not mean causation.

    Also, no mention of who funded the study. A left-leaning political group, maybe?

    1. You are right. The stupid who select a poor lifestyle and die early, are the same stupid who vote Republican.

      Darwin is pleased.

  18. We’re bored to death by pseudoscience like this. At the same time, liberals eat this up then turn to their crystal balls and Ouija boards to confirm the findings.

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