The PRB (Population Reference Bureau) post, Declines in Adult Death Rates Lag in the U.S. South, answers the question with interactive graphs.
Adult death rates in many southern states are 30 percent or 40 percent higher than in states with the lowest death rates. The growing geographic disparity means that adults (ages 55+) in the worst-off southern states can expect to die three to four years earlier, on average, than their counterparts in states with the lowest death rates.
The graphs show death rates by state and state rankings for both females and males, from 1980 to 2015. There is a clear trend.
In 2015, all of the states with the highest female death rates (ages 55+) were located in the South. In 1980, by comparison, the five states with the highest female death rates included Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The set of graphs are perfect for a QL course. The data, cited in the post, is from the CDC which could make for a regression based statistics project.