Are absentee ballot requests in NC related to COVID-19 rates?

For the past few months, I’ve wondered: is there a relationship between COVID-19 and absentee ballot requests? Specifically, I hypothesized that absentee ballot requests may increase in communities where COVID-19 rates were higher, perhaps due to increased news coverage and concerns about the virus. Yesterday, I finally dug into the data for North Carolina counties. I looked at the percent of registered voters who had requested an absentee ballot and the cumulative COVID-19 cases and…

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NC in Focus: COVID-19 cases spiking in NC rural counties

Nationally, rural counties reported a record number for new COVID-19 infections between September 20-26, according to a recent report from the Daily Yonder. More than half of rural counties nationwide—990—were in the red zone, meaning that they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in a one-week period. [alert type= "info" title = "Defining the 'Red Zone'" body= "According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the red zone corresponds to 101 or…

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Dying to Reopen: Comparing North Carolina and Georgia

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to remain physically distant from each other but has also created new opportunities for us to remain socially connected. Since UNC-Chapel Hill (UNC) closed its campus in mid-March, I (Alexis) have virtually collaborated with my colleagues in the Sociology Department and at the Carolina Population Center, participated in global dance parties on Instagram, laughed with friends on Google Hangout, and played pub-style trivia over Zoom. Each week, I look…

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Are more NC grandparents raising grandchildren because of the opioid epidemic?

The opioid epidemic has had devastating impacts in recent years, affecting the lives of those battling addiction as well as their family, friends, and colleagues. Children, too, are deeply affected; they may be separated from parents with substance abuse disorders if their caretaker becomes incarcerated, needs to enter a rehabilitation program, or becomes unable to care for them. First-hand accounts and interviews collected by non-profit groups and the media suggest that nearby family members typically…

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NC in Focus: County Health Rankings – Length of Life in North Carolina

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) releases annual health rankings at the county-level for each state in the nation. These rankings are divided into categories measuring different aspects of community wellness: Length of Life, Quality of Life, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, and Social and Economic Factors. Each factor is calculated by one or more markers of wellness – each deserving of a separate blog. This blog will focus on Length of Life in North Carolina…

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NC in Focus: Hurricane Strength, Timing, & Naming

Since 1851, North Carolina has been struck by 50 hurricanes; 12, or 24% of these, have been major hurricanes (category 3 or higher). This is slightly less than the proportion of major hurricanes experienced by the entire U.S. Atlantic coastline over this time period. Two hundred and ninety hurricanes have made landfall on the Atlantic coast since 1851; of these, 92 or nearly one-third (32%) have been major hurricanes. Although North Carolina is more likely…

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Atlantic Hurricanes

The North Atlantic hurricane season begins in June and lasts through November. Between 1851 and 2014, the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that only 12 hurricanes developed between the months of December and May, and none of them made landfall. On average, nearly two hurricanes make landfall in the U.S. each year. The most likely month of occurrence is September followed by August and October. Since 1851, North…

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What time will my baby be born?

My friend and colleague Christopher Marcum is expecting his first child (congratulations, Chris!) and “wanted to know what the timing of births looked like throughout the day.” So, he pulled 2012 births data from the Centers for Disease Control and produced an eye-catching series of plots. Each dot represents the total number of births that occurred in 2012 at each minute between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. (1,440 total minutes represented). The colors represent different…

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NC in Focus: Accidental Deaths, 2010

Deaths from unintentional injury, or accidents, were the fifth leading cause of death in the United States—and North Carolina—in 2010. Accidents, such as car crashes, poisoning, and drowning, are the primary cause of death for children and young adults. More than 4,100 North Carolina residents died from unintentional injuries in 2010: 33% died from motor vehicle accidents (1,383) 23% died from accidental poisoning (965) 21% died from accidental falls (858) Together, these three causes accounted…

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Mortality and Cause of Death, 1900 v. 2010

The overall mortality rate in the United States declined markedly over the 20th century, resulting in large gains in life expectancy. In 1900, the average U.S. newborn could expect to live to 47.3 years of age. In 2010, they could expect more than 30 additional years of life, with a life expectancy at birth of 78.7. In 1900, the top 3 causes of death were infectious diseases—pneumonia and flu, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infections (a fourth…

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