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Health Place. 2003 Dec;9(4):361-9.

Mapping high or low mortality places across time in the United States: a research note on a health visualization and analysis project.

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Rural Health, Safety and Security Institute, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 5287, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5287, USA.


This research note reports progress in visualizing and analyzing United States mortality data at the county level. The data visualization technique employed here may be applicable to other research situations. We dichotomized the range of mortality rates into high or low mortality counties, mapped them, and explored the clustering of high or low mortality rate counties across both space and time. We find visual evidence that high or low mortality counties spatially cluster together during individual periods of time (5 years). We find further visual evidence that there is a spatial persistence over time (30 years) of these counties with high or low mortality. This evidence leads us to conclude that relatively high or low mortality is anchored over time within a spatial region and population, suggesting that research efforts may be focused on these clusters to assess local causes of high or low mortality rates. Future research will examine the permanence of the resident population (i.e., population mixing), characteristics of the resident population, and characteristics of their place of residence over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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