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Economics Research Institute Study Paper




Utah State University Department of Economics

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This study identifies the significant factors that affect the distribution of mortality by county in the Mountain States by using mortality data from the Multiple Cause of Death File of the National Center for Health Statistics. From this data, mortality (age at death) Gini coefficients are calculated for males and females for each county in the Mountain States (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming). These data are available for all counties only through 1989. Hence, the model of determinants of the distribution of mortality is tested using data from 1989-1990. Previous studies of the determinants of life expectancy, mortality, and the distribution of life expectancy suggest a number of independent variables that should be included in a model of the determinants of the distribution of mortality at the county level. These variables include economic factors, demographic factors, social factors, geographical factors, and environmental factors. State effects are identified through the use of appropriate dummy variables. It is found that the cost of living, urbanization, farms, poverty, crime, geography, and environmental factors are significant determinants of mortality inequality, but that the impacts are different for male and female mortality.