It had been expected that female mortality would drop as the years push forward, due to the advancements in medicine and technology. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Health Affairs found this not to be true in a large number of counties spread across the United States.
Researchers David Kindig and Erika Cheng from the University of Wisconsin found that nationally, female mortality fell from 324 to 318 per 100,000 overall.
However, female mortality was increased in 42.8 percent of the 3,140 U.S. counties for women 75 years old and younger. Male mortality only increased in 3.4 percent of the counties for the same period.
The researchers compared two periods of records. One was from 1992-1996 and the other was from 2002-2006.
This disturbing trend means that women died at an alarming rate in certain parts of the country in those years. The counties that had a rise in female mortality were predominantly in the South and Midwest.
Researchers are not sure why there was a rise in female deaths in those particular areas. Professor Kindig expressed to Huffington Post that the reasons are complicated and probably related to a combination of factors rather than one or two alone.
Researchers found that those counties with the higher rates were more often found to be rural with smaller populations. Areas with lower populations sometimes affect statistics but the researchers attempted to stabilize the results by using five-year averages.
At the same time, those areas did not have less medical services available, nor was it found that female Hispanics or African Americans were the main groups affected. In fact, more disadvantaged White women had the larger rise.
Women in those counties affected were found to have higher incidence of smoking and obesity, only had a high school education, and had decreased income.
Huffington Post reported that some think the statistics could reflect a migration of healthier women out of rural areas, leaving behind those who are too poor or in too poor a state of health to relocate.