Dying death rates

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the suburbs are so 2001. Several counties in Minnesota, mostly in the metro area, used to be among the fastest growing in the country. Not anymore. Figures released today show suburban counties are still growing faster than the rest of the state, but not at the breakneck speed of yesteryear.

Meanwhile, in a study that got less attention this week, it turns out that Minnesotans aren’t dying at the rate they did earlier this decade, either.

The city slicker will conclude that this means that moving to the suburbs can kill you, but the two studies aren’t related.

According to the State Demographic Center, the Minnesota death rate has dropped 11 percent from 2001, with the largest rate declining coming in people 65 and over.

  • brian

    Just because the two rates don’t have to be related doesn’t mean they aren’t…

    (full disclosure: I live in Minneapolis)

  • c

    When I think of the “Burbs”, an image comes to mind of a man in his mid 40′s with plaid shorts to his kness, a white under shirt and black knit office socks in sandals watering the lawn with the hose in his hand. Oh yeah, and slightly balding on the top.

    I think of the term “keeping up with the Jones’” equals mass consumption such as “look at what we have” or “see our fancy orchids or begonias”, “see our three car garage”. “The Consumption” equals and early death in my opinion. I mean no harm or offense this is just my opinion.

  • Bob Collins

    The “opinions” of the suburbs, usually by city folks, are usually consistent with the opinions above: they’re places where well-to-do, white (read: racist) people live.

    As a suburban dweller, obviously, I don’t see it that way. The fact that foreclosures are a big suburban problem would at least appear to counter the claim that they are of one economic breed.

    and they’re not necessarily Mcmansions. in my little starter-home neighborhood… just down the street — past the house owned by the guy who fled Iran after the Sha was deposed, around the corner from where the Romanian immigrants live and almost next door to the Somali family, there is a little starter home that hasn’t been plowed all year.

    And the city slickers’ arrogance masks the fact, too, that city people live in their own “enclaves” where people tend to look like them. For the record, I have a two-car garage and no fancy orchids; just a little prairie garden of native species.

    Brian, the lowest death rates in America are in Minnesota, California, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The highest are in the deep South. One could similarly conclude that since they’re mostly Democratic states, Democrats ae less likely to die than Republicans. It really doesn’t hold up to science.

    Now, what MIGHT be a reason is they’re states that place a high premium on public health and health care, which is reflected in a healthier population.

    It’s certainly worth exploring.

  • brian

    Sorry… I should have put a smiley face after my comment here… I don’t really think moving to the suburbs makes someone more likely to die.

    I try not to be elitist in my thoughts, but sometimes it happens (ok, maybe it happens a lot, but I try to moderate them anyway). I’m sure everyone thinks were they live is better than elsewhere, otherwise they wouldn’t live there.

    I’m not the kind of person that would only live in a big city, I just value living in a home I can easily afford and not having a long commute to work every day. That happens to be in the city at this time in my life. The stereotypical suburb tends to go against these values (i.e. McMansions and 1.5 hour commutes each way) but I know most suburbs aren’t really like that.

  • bsimon

    ” I don’t really think moving to the suburbs makes someone more likely to die.”

    Why not? As Bob noted, Dem areas have lower death rates than Repub areas. Repubs live in the suburbs & exurbs, Dems live in the urban areas.

    Personally, I think its the cars. While the urban homicide rate takes our numbers down, the suburban accidental deaths by motor vehicle are far, far higher.

    I think a reasonably competent statistician could massage the numbers to prove that.

  • c

    Of course there are more humble individuals who live in the burbs and do not follow the “jones’ affect/effect” and i am not talking about them.

    i am talking about the “i live off of a golf course or live in a gated settlement that has a title, “horse barn stoney mills” where we buy buy buy on credit so we have to work work work that creates stress stress stress that cause health issues that can lead to death.

    thats what im talking about.

  • Bob Collins

    Bsimon, there was a survey a few years ago about happiness. And, if I recall correctly, the “happiest” areas also happened to be areas with a high concentration of Republicans. So, of course, the headline was “Republicans are happier.”

    Theoretically, that might be true, but it also creates an improper cause and effect. In other words, there’s no science that says they’re happier BECAUSE they’re Republicans. It may be that they have dogs, for example.

    BTW, C, your description of work and stress and consumption really isn’t geography-specific, although I know city slickers like to think it is.

    Let’s just say I’ve been to Crocus Hill. (g)

    The epidemic of people trying to keep up with the Joneses is a marketing masterpiece that was not aimed exclusively at, nor certainly embraced exclusively by, people in the ‘burbs.

    Kind of like making fun of the ‘burbs. It;s just what people “do” (keep up, you might say) to fit in in the city. (g)

    BTW, my commute to Woodbury each day is about 11-15 minutes. The schools (although my kids are grown now) were just around the corner. The parks are terrific. The bikepaths are great, and the home was affordable ($108,500 in 1992).

    I’ve lived in both cities and ‘burbs and the only real generalization I can make is people who live in cities are much more likely to criticize people who’ve chosen to live in the ‘burbs than people in the ‘burbs are likely to criticize peoples’ choice to live in the cities.

    I’m not sure why that is but I’m sure it would make an interesting study. When I lived in New York, the one thing I always noticed about people who lived in New Jersey was they always had to tell you why YOU should live in New Jersey. I could never figure that out other than perhaps it made them feel better about living in New Jersey if someone else would validate their choice.

  • bsimon

    I was being more snarky than serious. In that vein, when Bob writes

    “there was a survey a few years ago about happiness. And, if I recall correctly, the “happiest” areas also happened to be areas with a high concentration of Republicans. So, of course, the headline was “Republicans are happier.”"

    My response is: of course Republicans are happier, they’re living the fat, good life that’s gonna kill them young. Juicy steaks & sinful desserts put a smile on the face, until you’re lying on the floor, gasping for breath, clutching your chest, thinking “maybe I should have worried more about my health…”

  • Bob Collins

    This, of course, brings up what I call a Mary Lucia question.

    If you really LOVED baked potato with sour cream…and a juicy steak and you new ahead of time it would decrease your life expectancy by a year, would you live a life without, or cash in the year?

    I have to say, I REALLY like baked potatoes and juicy steaks.