Unemployment,Income Affect Life Length 12/18 06:16
NEW YORK (AP) -- Even your lifespan can be local.
Researchers have long said that health disparities are heavily influenced by
where you live. New data from the National Center for Health Statistics show
just how much your neighborhood can impact the length of your life.
In recent years, the U.S. has seen overall life expectancy decrease, from
78.7 years in 2015 to 78.6 years in 2017. Experts have pointed to opioid
addiction and an increase in suicides as the main reasons.
Behind that national average are American neighborhoods where recently born
residents can expect to live much longer, or much shorter, lives.
The Associated Press analyzed life expectancy and demographic data for
65,662 census tracts, which are geographic areas that encompass roughly 4,000
residents. The AP found that certain demographic qualities --- high rates of
unemployment, low household income, a concentration of black or Native American
residents and low rates of high school education --- affected life expectancy
in most neighborhoods.
An increase of 10 percentage points in the unemployment rate in a
neighborhood translated to a loss of roughly a year and a half of life
expectancy, the AP found. A neighborhood where more adults failed to graduate
high school had shorter predicted longevity.
New York state had the largest range for life expectancy among its
neighborhoods, spanning 34.5 years. The places with the highest and lowest
estimates are both in New York City. Children born between 2010 and 2015 in
part of the northern half of Roosevelt Island have an estimated life expectancy
of 59 years; a child born 6 miles away in Chinatown in lower Manhattan can
expect to live 93.6 years.
In one North Carolina neighborhood --- Fearrington Village in Chatham County
--- a child born between 2010 and 2015 can expect to live 97.5 years, the
highest estimated lifespan for any neighborhood in the U.S. A child in part of
Stilwell in Adair County, Oklahoma, can expect 59 years on average, the
The AP analysis also found discrepancies among states. Life expectancy in
Hawaii topped all other states at 82 years. Mississippi's estimate of 74.9 was
the lowest, followed closely by West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
The AP analyzed 88.7 percent of all U.S. census tracts. Maine and Wisconsin
were excluded because some of their death records lacked home addresses of the
The data is part of a new partnership between the National Center for Health
Statistics, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The National Association for
Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), and the National
Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Through the collaboration, researchers
used six years of death records and demographic data to create a longevity
estimate for nearly every census tract in the country.