Monday, May 08, 2017

Life expectancy differs by 20 years between some US counties

The article at the following link has a map color-coded to indicate life expectancy by county.

By Susan Scutti, CNN
Updated 11:24 AM ET, Mon May 8, 2017

Life expectancy at birth differs by as much as 20 years between the lowest and highest United States counties, according to new research published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.


Life expectancy at birth increased by 5.3 years for both men and women -- from 73.8 years to 79.1 years -- between 1980 and 2014, Murray and his colleagues wrote. During that time period, men gained 6.7 years, from 70 years on average to 76.7 years, while women gained four years, from 77.5 years to 81.5 years.


But the numbers aren't the same everywhere. Looking at the finer details, Murray and his colleagues calculated a gap of 20.1 years between US counties with the lowest and highest life expectancies.

The counties with lowest life expectancy are located in South and North Dakota, while counties along the lower half of Mississippi, in eastern Kentucky, and southwestern West Virginia also showed lower life expectancies compared to the rest of the nation. The North and South Dakota counties include Native American reservations.
At the other extreme, residents of counties in central Colorado can expect to live longest, Murray and his colleagues said.


The most positive note is that, over the study period, all counties show declines in the risk of early death for children under the age of 5 years old, say the authors. And, nearly all counties (about 98%) show declines in the risk of early death for people between the ages of 5 and 25, as well as those between 45 and 85.
However, people between the ages of 25 and 45 show an increased risk of death in 11.5% of counties over the study period.


"Risk factors -- obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes -- explained 74% of the variation in longevity," said Murray. "Socioeconomic factors, a combination of poverty, income, education, unemployment, and race, were independently related to 60% of the inequality, and access to and quality of health care explained 27%."


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