In this study, differences in mortality rates were statistically analyzed between Kentucky Appalachian County Populations (KACP) and Kentucky Non-Appalachian County Populations (KnACP) for 2013. Health – risk factors and socio – economic conditions were also assessed to determine if they put KACP at a higher risk of the five most common causes of death in Kentucky. Estill County, a KACP, was also specifically examined for its mortality and health – risk factor rates. By examining the 2013 database provided by the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was determined that there is a significant increase in mortality rates of malignant neoplasms and heart disease in the KACP population compared to KnACP. The KACP population also has significantly increased rates of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and obesity; all of which contribute to the significance of KACP mortality rates. Subsequently, socio – economic factors such as median house – hold income showed a significant decrease for KACP compared to KnACP which indirectly affects the mortality rates of KACP. Estill County also showed an increase in mortality rates, as well as, health-risk factors compared to KACP. These findings indicate that the populations of KACP are at higher risk of dying from malignant neoplasms and heart disease due to a significant increase in hypertension, smoking, diabetes, and obesity. To correct this overwhelming health issue, improving the quality of and access to healthcare for the KACP’s needs to be a focus. Projects including government resources such as more funding for free clinics, as well as community based efforts to reduce smoking, etc. is of utmost importance.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-12-2016


Lindsay E. Calderon

Department/Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


Safety, Security, and Emergency Management