Data Visualization A screenshot from "How Americans Die"

Published on April 24th, 2014 | by Travis Korte


Picturing American Mortality’s interactive visualization slideshow How Americans Die tracks the changes in U.S. mortality rates over the last half-century and uncovers some interesting facts about the changing dynamics of death in the country. It shows, for instance, that the mortality rate among Americans aged 45-54 has not substantially decreased since the late 1990s, despite advances in treating heart disease and cancer. The reason for this is that deaths from suicide and drugs have sharply increased among that cohort. It further shows how the AIDS epidemic was responsible for a sharp increase in people aged 25-44 from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.

It also explores some of the implications of changing mortality rates. Although people are living longer in general, this has resulted in many more cases of Alzheimer’s, to the point that about 40 percent of the increase in Medicare spending since 2011 can be attributed to Alzheimer’s treatment. Other topics covered in the slideshow include the rise of suicide across demographics and the decline of car-related deaths among young people.

Take a look.

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About the Author

Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.

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