Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health
Population Health Research Brief Series
Jennifer Karas Montez, Kent Jason G. Cheng, and Jacob M. Grumbach
Strong democratic functioning is good for population health. However, democratic functioning eroded in many U.S. states in recent decades. The erosion was especially pronounced for one aspect of democratic functioning—electoral democracy, which refers to free and fair elections. This brief summarizes findings from a study examining how changes in electoral democracy in the 50 states predicted changes in the risk of death among adults ages 25-64 during 2000-2019. Findings demonstrate that democratic erosion strongly predicts rising deaths from drug poisoning, infectious disease, suicide, and homicide.