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Mapping Disease Disparities from Hog Farms by Race

The data I chose was inspired by the late epidemiologist Steven Wing’s research on large hog farm industries in North Carolina impacting people’s health. I found a density map he previously published and decided to measure the mortality most common diseases associated with hog farm exposure. His work included interviews where he learned the communities he came across most impacted by the hog farms were those of higher black populations.

From here I developed the Research Question: What is the impact of black versus white mortality of hog farm related diseases in North Carolina by county?

My hypothesis you ask - In those counties neighboring high volume clusters of industrial hog farms there would be a greater rate of black mortality due to hog related diseases than compared to white mortality.

In R I used CDC Wonder to collect 1999-2016 data based on the ICD 10 codes of the four associated diseases as a proxy for diseases related to hog farm exposure. I made sure to include stratified mortality rates by race, and included only black and white individuals in the population in my dataset as well.

The map showed that there is a higher rate of mortality among black people than white in North Carolina Counties especially in the clusters of counties within proximity of high volume industrial hog farms. These counties include counties such as Bladen, Duplin, Pender, Sampson and Wayne.

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