Monday, October 26, 2009

Now for something totally different: alcohol and life expectancy

I am sure that everyone is tired of reading about politics, so I have decided to do something different today: comparing alcohol consumption and life expectancy, across US states.
My alcohol consumption data came from

which is a pretty official site, although there are lots of questions about methodology when it comes to alcohol consumption! The data there breaks it down into beer, wine, liquor and then the total consumption, and I just used the last.

The life expectancy data came from

this table in businessweek, which refers to the Harvard Center on Public Health. It might not be the best data, but it passes my giggle test.

So, when we put them together, we get:Almost nothing!
There are significant outliers in all four directions, some of which make sense at first (why Utah and Nevada have low and high alcohol consumption rates) and some of which might be surprising at first (Delaware and New Hampshire are not, to my mind, such hard drinkin' states, but I only had to think about it for a minute to figure out why they are where they are).
Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much pattern between alcohol consumption and life expectancy.
There are a lot of different things that could be done with this data, and I already have some ideas. There may be a pattern when slightly different data are looked at, and I may do that soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment