Data are often available in tabular formats, such as county measures of mortality rates from NJSHAD. In this example I explore the differences in county-level deaths from heart diseases in New Jersey, from 2000-2015. The highest rate of deaths from heart disease was found in Salem County, with an age-adjusted death rate of 222.7 per 100,000. The lowest rates were found in Somerset county, with an age adjusted-death rate of 136.2 per 100,000. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and we dedicate February to promoting awareness of heart diseases and the health behaviors that protect against them: healthy diets, regular exercise, not smoking, and behaviors that help reduce stress.
The webmap above portrays Jenks Natural Breaks for classifying mortality data. But, the categorization is up to the cartographer. The maps below illustrate four different classification schemes, all using the same data: Dot Density, Jenks Natural Breaks, Quantiles and Standard Deviation. The map with shades of red is often easiest for map readers to interpret correctly. Studies of health professionals have revealed the standard deviation classifications are valuable, since the mean is compared with outliers; however, as the legend below describes ‘standard deviations,’ these values are often complex for non-professional audiences to interpret.
The following map illustrates death rates from influenza in New Jersey, 2012-2016.
There has been a slight increase of suicides in recent years. In New Jersey, different counties exhibit different risks for suicide death by firearm use. As the map below displays, there are higher rates of suicides from 2012-2016 by firearms in western and southern counties in the state. The highest age-adjusted death rate for suicide by firearms was found in Salem County, where there were 26 suicides from 2012-2016.
The following map show deaths from accidental firearm injuries, 2012-2016. Burlington, Camden and Passaic Counties all reported two deaths from accidental firearm injuries during this time period.
The follow map looks at average motor vehicle deaths across counties in New Jersey, 2000-2017. Salem County had the highest age-adjusted death rates over this time period, with a rate of 17.7 per 100,000 people. 208 individuals died in Salem County from motor vehicle accidents. Bergen County had the lowest rates: 4.7, about 1/3 of Salem County’s rates.