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Where health is lacking Mapping public health issues with GeoFRED


GeoFRED maps can help us understand a lot of things, including trends in regional socioeconomic data, which could ultimately provide insights for policy recommendations. In this post, we look at two important indicators of health throughout the United States: premature deaths and preventable hospital admissions. High levels of premature deaths indicate issues with public health. (See a previous blog post for some background on this concept.) The South has a comparatively higher concentration of high rates in this area.

The maps show a correlation between areas that suffer from high rates of premature death and areas that have a high rate of preventable hospital admissions, which is defined as stays in acute-care hospitals that could have been taken care of in ambulatory or ordinary inpatient settings, adjusted for socioeconomic factors. Examples are pneumonia, diabetes, and dehydration. A high rate of these admissions indicates that more people are lacking appropriate health options, likely leading to more preventable deaths.

While regional trends and correlations do not indicate causation, a review of interconnected socioeconomic patterns over several years can be useful for understanding persistent problems in certain areas. Refer to GeoFRED for related maps on race, income inequality, homeownership, burdened homeowners, and disconnected youth.

How these maps were created: Premature Death: From GeoFRED, click on “Build New Map.” Under the “Tools” menu, select “County” in the region type search bar. For the first map, enter “premature death” in the data search bar and then select “Age-Adjusted Premature Death Rate”; for the second map, enter “preventable hospital admissions” in the data search bar and then select “Rate of Preventable Hospital Admissions.”

Suggested by Samantha Kiss and Christian Zimmermann.



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