US Life Expectancy: All Over the Map

A new study from The Institute for Health Metrics via Aaron Carroll:

Change in life expectancy is so uneven that within some states there is now a decade difference between the counties with the longest lives and those with the shortest. States such as Arizona, Florida, Virginia, and Georgia have seen counties leap forward more than five years from 1987 to 2007 while nearby counties stagnate or even lose years of life expectancy. In Arizona, Yuma County’s average life expectancy for men increased 8.5 years, nearly twice the national average, while neighboring La Paz County lost a full year of life expectancy, the steepest drop nationwide.

Comments (8)

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  1. Ken says:

    Interesting. And I have no idea what to make of it.

  2. Vicki says:

    I think different areas have completely different cultures. Some are very health minded and some are not.

  3. Madeline says:

    I think Vicki is probably right.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    Within a geographic are there can exist wide variation in health literacy, education, income and other factors that contribute to longevity. Some counties will have a high concentration of people with low-income, low-education and poor health literacy. Health status can also vary by ethnicity and lifestyle. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of health care spending can be attributed to lifestyle issues.

    It’s unfortunate that life expectancy varies within the United States; and some groups have a life expectancy of a poor country. But it is also virtually impossible to force people to lead a healthy lifestyle.

  5. Greg Scandlen says:

    The dirty little secret that no one discusses is the differences due to race and ethnicity. Some populations are genetically predisposed to certain conditions. That is why some areas have similar results as some third world countries — they have the same genetic makeup.

  6. Virginia says:

    The thing that strikes me about these areas is that they are greasy food hubs. Restaurants in these parts of the country don’t serve salads (at least not without a gallon of ranch dressing).

    Devon and Greg are also right. Socioeconomic status plays a part, as do genetics.

  7. Terry says:

    The biggest factor to life expectation is wealth, and social status.

  8. Floccina says:

    On average Asians live longer then Hispanics who live longer than non-Hispanic whites who live longer than blacks. The map explained.