Location Impacts Lifespan

September 14, 2018
Low-angle shot of tree
Photo: Unsplash/Jeremy Bishop

According to a new project measuring local health data, residents of Stilwell, Okla. have the shortest life expectancy in the nation, 56.3 years. 

Stilwell residents are expected to die a generation sooner than the national average, as U.S. life expectancy is 78.8 years. The local health data project uses the most detailed data ever released by the National Center for Health Statistics, per The Washington Post, and life expectancy is typically strongly tied to racial and economic differences. Neighborhoods with the lowest life expectancies tend to have the same four characteristics: they are in the bottom quartile of income (60.9 percent), located in the South Census Region (52.2 percent), less educated (56.7 percent), and predominantly black (51.0 percent).

The government partnered with the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information in a three-year effort to calculate life expectancy for 65,662 Census tracts nationwide. They negotiated agreements with every U.S. state and territory to obtain death data not available to the public and applied sophisticated statistical methodology that was vetted at all levels of the agency.

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