God and the Voter

The Washington Post just published (here) an article discussing the dramatic difference in lifespans in different parts of the country. Each block of the map corresponds to a county. Expected life spans across counties vary by over 15 years. That’s greater than the difference between the U.S. and some lesser developed countries.

The pattern looked familiar. I compared it to a map of the presidential vote for the 2016 election.

  expected life span


Presidential vote, 2016

 Presidential vote 2016



Here the darker the blue, the stronger the Democratic vote. Conversely, the darker the red, the stronger the Republican vote.

There is an almost perfect correlation between the two. Blue states politically are also deep blue in terms of long life spans. The deeper the red politically, the shorter the lifespan. This holds in great detail.

For example, Texas is strongly Republican, a red state. But parts of Texas along the southern border vote Democratic. These tend to have longer life spans. This occurs in spite of the fact that these border counties have many Mexicans and lower income – usually associated with lower expected lifespan.

Alaska is a red (Republican) state with lower lifespan. Hawaii is a blue state with longer lifespan. The differences are dramatic.

The west coast of California is strongly democratic, and much longer lived. The southeast of Florida votes democratic, while the rest is strongly Republican. Lifespans follow almost exactly. The northwest counties of Washington vote blue, and also live much longer.

Some may claim that this is just an artifact, and that the real relation is between income and lifespan. The map below shows per capita income. The darker the green, the higher the income.


Per Capita Income per capita income

While there is certainly a strong relation between income and lifespan, there is a stronger relation with party preference. Note that southern Texas is poor, yet has longer lifespans – and votes Democratic. Conversely, Alaska tends to be quite well off, but is strongly Republican with short lifespans.

I am sure that using both income and party preference would predict lifespan better than either one alone. But the surprising thing is that party preference is so important in predicting lifespan. My theory is that God is pissed off at those sanctimonious, Bible-thumping folk who voted for Trump and Bush.

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