NashvilleHealth | Life expectancy differs by 20 years between some US counties

Life expectancy differs by 20 years between some US counties

By Susan Scutti

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

Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, lead author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, estimated life expectancy for each US county from 1980 through 2014. Murray and his colleagues analyzed county-level data and then applied a mathematical model to estimate the average length of lives.

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.

Read the rest of the story on CNN.

 





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