August 22, 2013
Residents of rural, southerly states, including West Virginia, have more sickness and shorter lives, according to an actuarial report from the Centers for Disease Control.
For example, it says West Virginians who are 65 years old can expect to live an average of 17.5 more years and suffer ill health for six and a half of those years.
In contrast, 65-year-old Hawaiians will average 21.3 more years of life, with sickness marring only five years, the CDC says.
Urban, better-educated, higher-income, northerly states have healthier, longer-living people, while Dixie and Appalachia rank in the cellar. In CDC charts, Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma all essentially tie for last place.
A Newsweek commentary noted that healthy states are “blue” politically, generally voting Democratic, while unhealthy ones are “red” Republican states. Further, the left-leaning states have better public happiness, as measured by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index.
“States where Americans can expect to live the longest, healthiest lives are also largely states that lean left politically and whose residents rank highest in overall happiness,” it said. “Likewise, many states where the CDC found people are expected to live shorter and less-healthy lives are politically conservative states with low happiness listings and low median incomes.”
Ever since 2000, West Virginia has been a “red state” in presidential elections. Two of the state’s three congressional seats are held by Republicans. And the GOP gained the state attorney general post plus many legislative seats. Mountain conservatives show increasing strength — even if they’re more sickly and unhappy, according to national rankings.
Here’s the only lesson we see in these statistics: Healthier, happier, better-educated, better-paid, urban northerners in blue states live longer, so they will have more years to vote Democratic. That’s good news for America’s progressive, humane values.
— Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette