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Local Life Expectancies

Local Life Expectancies | Geography Education | Scoop.it

We often talk about life expectancy data at the national level; this simplification has a great deal of utility but obscures regional distinctions within a country.  Some counties in the United States have life expectancies on par with Japan (84), while the worst off counties are more similar to Indonesia (69).  Even more startling, in 661 counties, life expectancy stopped dead or went backwards for women since 1999.  This is a dramatic look at the importance of scale within any geographic analysis to arrive at reasonable conclusions.  So let's start looking at local demographic data instead of just nationally aggregated data.  For more on this press release, see:  http://www.healthmetricsandevaluation.org/news-events/news-release/girls-born-2009-will-live-shorter-lives-their-mothers-hundreds-us-counties

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, September 18, 2013 10:10 AM

Typically when I think about the average life expectancy today I think of how it has increased over the years. However I never thought of looking at it broken down into gender and area. When it is broken down the life expectancy of women is not increasing like it used too and in some places is even going down. In the graph it says that 54,000 women die every year because of excess salt. That stat is crazy! Even though that may not be a huge percentage of our population. It is something that can be monitored more and prevented. It would be interesting to see why people live longer in certain areas. What is it about specific areas that these people are living the longest? Even though the average life expectancy as a whole as increased I think we should look more into the decrease of life expectancy of women and why men's life expectancy's are increasing so much in comparison to women. 

Shelby Porter's comment, September 19, 2013 1:59 PM
When I hear about life expectancy the first thought that pops into my head is that the U.S. must have a great life expectancy considering all the medicines and treatments we have available. But when I read that since such a large numbers of counties have seen woman life expectancy stop dead or go backwards since 1999, I was absolutely shocked! Why was the life expectancy of women's dropping in so many more counties, an why weren't the men's life expectancy also dropping?And why is it that women live the longest in North Dakota and men in Iowa? Reading further, we see that a large percentage of women dying each year is because of excess salt and a large percentage of men dying each year is because of smoking. Both of these things can be prevented, but yet we still see many Americans do them. One good thing we learn from this is that African American males life expectancy has improved greatly over the past two decades. I would be interested to find out why that is, and if it could help the rest of the population also increase their life expectancy.
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 5:36 PM

Life expectancies do vary.  I know that one of my grandmothers died around when she was 60, and my other grandfather just passed away at age 84.  I am 23 years old, and the difference between their death ages is close to 24; one lived a whole "one of my current lifetimes" more than the other, which is strange to think about.  All that I've ever known can fit into the time that one lived longer than the other.  Life is transient, but just that.  The "death expectancy" is that everyone will die, absolutely.  No exceptions.  I was given a paper from a friend in high school, one of those motivational readings, on "What will you do with your 'dash'?"  It referred to gravestones, ie) someone lived from 1927-2012.  The two dates aren't really what matter, but the 'dash' in between, and how we choose to spend our lives is the true part that really matters!  So know what to expect, on average and based on where you are from, and be prepared for some differences from that average, but make your 'dash' truly matter! After all, it's the most we can do...

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