Comparison of mortality disparities in central appalachian coal- and non-coal-mining counties

Shannon M. Woolley*, Susan L. Meacham, Lauren C. Balmert, Evelyn O. Talbott, Jeanine M. Buchanich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: Determine whether select cause of death mortality disparities in four Appalachian regions is associated with coal mining or other factors. Methods: We calculated direct age-adjusted mortality rates and associated 95% confidence intervals by sex and study group for each cause of death over 5-year time periods from 1960 to 2009 and compared mean demographic and socioeconomic values between study groups via two-sample t tests. Results: Compared with non-coal-mining areas, we found higher rates of poverty in West Virginia and Virginia (VA) coal counties. All-cause mortality rates for males and females were higher in coal counties across all time periods. Virginia coal counties had statistically significant excesses for many causes of death. Conclusions: We found elevated mortality and poverty rates in coal-mining compared with non-coal-mining areas of West Virginia and VA. Future research should examine these findings in more detail at the individual level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-694
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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