Where ‘despair deaths’ were higher, voters chose Trump

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Counties where more people died of so-called deaths of despair — from alcohol or drug abuse and suicide — voted more heavily for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, new research shows.

A county-by-county analysis of death rates, causes of death and voting patterns shows that the death rate was nearly 8 percent higher between 2000 and 2015 in counties where Trump won the majority.

It was 15 percent higher in counties that swung more heavily Republican than in 2008, a team at Columbia University said Wednesday.

Death rates from drug abuse have increased by more than 600 percent since 1980, county-level data from the University of Washington shows.IHME/University of Washington

“Death rates may be important markers of the dissatisfaction, discouragement, hopelessness, and fear of cultural displacement that contributed to President Trump’s appeal, especially to the non-urban, white working class, Dr. Lee Goldman, chief executive of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and colleagues wrote in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.