It looks like it correlates with white drugs (opioids, meth), obesity, smoking, and low real estate prices (i.e., expensive states shed drug addicts who can’t make the rent — but also demand goes up in states with fewer of these kind of problems). It’s pretty much Fishtown versus Belmont, to use Charles Murray’s names from his 2012 book Coming Apart.
Interestingly, Murray tweeted recently that while writing his book about working class whites falling apart, it didn’t occur to him to check whether they were dying at a higher rate.
One thing to keep in mind is that death rates in these younger age ranges are pretty low, so they can be bounced around by specific causes such as, say, painkiller deregulation and enterprising Mexican heroin cartels.
Still, it’s pretty depressing …
Notes: Minnesota had the second lowest middle aged white death rates in 1999 and it’s now lowest in 2013.
North Dakota used to have the lowest death rate, but it went up 32% as energy prosperity arrived. It’s still pretty low.
South Dakota’s death rate went down.
Colorado is missing from the table. It’s likely a quite healthy state.
Nevada used to have the highest white death rate, but it fell to 8th as the Las Vegas lifestyle spread nationally.
Ohio and Pennsylvania continue to diverge, with the death rate in Ohio up 20% v. only up 4% in Pennsylvania.