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Monnat and Montez Talk to US News About Their Research on Link Between Policy and Mortality Rates

November 2, 2022

US News & World Report

Shannon Monnat

Shannon Monnat

Jennifer Karas Montez

Jennifer Karas Montez

Political ideology can be a predictor of death among working-age adults, a new study indicates, with lower rates of mortality associated with more liberal state policies on topics like the environment, gun safety and taxes. The study, "U.S. state policy contexts and mortality of working-age adults," is co-authored by University Professor Jennifer Karas Montez and Shannon Monnat, professor of sociology and Lerner Chair in Public Health Promotion and Population Health.

"State policies, which have been relatively ignored in research on explanations for U.S. mortality trends, turn out to be really important for understanding geographic disparities in mortality," says Monnat.

Overall, Montez says the study’s findings provide a clearer picture as to reasons behind a rise in mortality among working-age Americans, which the study says has been a large contributor to the stagnation of U.S. life expectancy in recent years.

"Much of the narrative and scientific focus to this point has been on opioid suppliers, or factories shutting," Montez says. "But our analysis points to a third major player, and that’s U.S. state policymakers."

Read more in the U.S. News & World Report article, "Death and Taxes: How Political Policies Are Tied to Mortality."

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