Institute Fellow Jacob Bor Ties Life Expectancy to Voting Choices
Jacob Bor, Junior Faculty Fellow at the Hariri Institute and Hariri Research Award recipient, shows how voting patterns correlated with the nation’s growing geographic health divides in his recent publication in the American Journal of Public Health. Bor reviewed county-level voting data from the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections and county-level estimates of life expectancy at birth for 1980 and 2014 from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Bor noticed a sharp divergence in life expectancy across US counties, with some counties have gaining a full decade of life expectancy and others with zero gains or even falling life expectancy. After correlating life expectancy trends with voter turnout, Bor notes,
“In the 2016 election, in counties that had been left behind in life expectancy gains, residents abandoned the Democratic Party, voting for Trump or not voting at all…the findings signal an important opportunity for policymakers to try to address the health needs of these populations.”
Bor concludes that health gaps likely will continue to widen without significant public investment in population health.