An analysis of mortality and demographic data by The Economist shows that the devastation has spread beyond predominantly white cities to more diverse places. 2010 marked a turning point. Between 1999 and 2010 counties with the highest share of working-class whites saw deaths of despair grow much faster than in the counties with the lowest. Between 2010 and 2022, though (a period that covers Mr Trump’s election), that relationship flipped. Deaths of despair rose by 5.5% per year in counties with lots of high-school-educated whites, but by 7% in the most diverse, educated ones. A decade ago the mortality rate from alcohol, drugs and suicide was nearly one-fifth higher in conservative counties than in liberal ones. Today, deaths from despair are now as prevalent in Democratic parts of the country as in Republican ones. And because left-leaning counties tend to be bigger than conservative ones, they record 10,000 more deaths of despair per year than them.
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