A new study found the most distinctive cause of death for each state.
There must be 50 ways to leave your life.
(via Preventing Chronic Disease)
State-based maps are a lot of fun, but sometimes they're a little lightweight. Luckily, this one is just as grim as you could want. A new study in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease compiled data from the Centers for Disease Control to find the causes of death that are most "distinctive" of each state. Common causes were excluded, leaving only the juicy stuff. It paints a fascinating and dismal story of our 50 states.
In New York and Connecticut, for example, the leading cause of death is pelvic inflammatory disease – A.K.A. STDs. In Tennessee and Alabama it's accidental gunshots, whereas in Arkansas and Arizona it's gunshots of "undetermined intent." Pretty rough for them. The only thing more embarrassing than dying from an accidental gunshot is dying from a gunshot and no one knows if it was an accident. In New Mexico, Oregon, and Nevada, on the other hand, you're more likely to be killed by a cop. Remember that during your next wild Vegas weekend.
Some of the causes of death make more sense. Black Lung is the most distinctive of West Virginia because of all the coal miners there, and transportation accidents are more common in Alaska because the only way to get around is in a rickety little bush plane flown by some old prospector type with a glass eye.
The study was written by Eva Pradhan, MPH and Francis P. Boscoe, PhD. Boscoe stresses that some of these results should be taken with a grain of salt. Their data comes from causes of death assigned by local coroners, so regional trends in how deaths are coded probably affected the results. In Maryland, for example, medical examiners are less likely to code suspicious deaths as homicides (which is suspicious). He told The NY Daily News:
"I think we'll move states towards better standards of coding practices. It's a fairly boring outcome but obviously we are interested in why we die."
Obviously we are, Dr. Boscoe. Keep the morbidity coming.