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Local Life Expectancies

Local Life Expectancies | Matt's Geography Portfolio |

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:

Via Seth Dixon, Courtney Burns
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

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...

Mark V's comment, August 27, 2012 11:30 AM
I wonder what the link between male longevity and Iowa males is? Perhaps the connection the land -physical work and local food.
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.
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Where Does the South Begin?

Where Does the South Begin? | Matt's Geography Portfolio |
Roads? Religion? Accent? Food? Which factor dictates where the North ends?


This is a great intellectual expercise to help student think about regions and how we define them.  The article can help also inform some of their thinking since one of the main problems for students in drawing regional boundaries is a lack of place-based knowledge.   


Tags: regions, USA.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

Borders... the first thing I think of was a giant bookstore near my hometown... it now ceases to exist, having been replaced by Barnes and Nobel...  As for the political organization of space, I could apply this situation and laugh.  Borders will cease to be, and they will be called after people's last names!  I think this has already happened, when people unite together in countries such as the USA- although borders are specific, the general federal laws and many policies still apply in all states... generally. And people's names are often the namesakes of places.  I don't like the idea of borders, though, it seems like a bunch of warmongers trying to get ahead in a world where they can't truly cheat death, so they cheat other people of land that may have been decreed in ancient documents as property of their ancestors, or even in accordance with the righteousness of the universe and what should be alloted to whom.  Ownership is a concept of denial, because no one can truly own anything, not even our bodies, which contain trillions of infinite universes the size of the large one around us that we commonly refer to.  Borders are relative, and will likely become recognized as obsolete.  I know this was abstract, but it's my thoughts on the topic.

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Linguistic Diversity at Home

Linguistic Diversity at Home | Matt's Geography Portfolio |

"Counties where at least 10 percent of people speak a language other than English at home."

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

The presence of large numbers of people that speak languages other than English at home occurs on the east and west coasts of the U.S., but largely in the south and western areas of the U.S..  In high school we used to have discussions about how there were many immigrants coming into the U.S. from or through Mexico.  With migration comes cultural diffusion, as the people coming into the United States bring their language and many other cultural elements of their country of origin with them.  I know there are certain neighborhoods in cities in Rhode Island where most people that I see on the street are speaking Spanish.  I have a relative that has married an immigrant from Guatemala, and she learned that the North East coast of the U.S. Is where many people from Central America move to- often in groups that settle as communities to help each other.  I can understand that it is essential to live near people that speak your language, and it makes sense that their strength and comfort in numbers is also a way of having a "home away from home."  Being the area of the world on the southern land border of the U.S., and that Central America consists mainly of Spanish speakers, it fills in the Southern areas of the U.S. with people that speak a language other than English.  The coasts overall can be explained as being populated by people that speak languages other than English at home because they contain ports of travel and trade, and are points where many flights from other countries would land and drop off travelers and migrants.  That and beautiful ocean views make the coasts a great place for foreigners to settle and live.  These pull factors are likely influential reasons for people to relocate to the areas on the map.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 10, 2013 11:02 PM

This map does not bring many surprises.  Places where there are a lot of Spanish speaking families are present in places where many Spanish people immigrate to, along the Mexican border and the southern tip of Florida, where Cuba is close by.  One interesting thing about the French areas seen in Louisiana is that their version of French is a regional dialect. Not only is their a cluster of French speaking families, but they are all speaking a language native to the region.  It is very surprising that there are not as many French speaking families along the Canadien border.

Hector Alonzo's curator insight, September 26, 2014 11:34 AM

This map shows how linguistically diverse the United States is today. This map reminded me of one of the slides that we went over in class about how in the Northwest Region the predominant language was German and now it is mainly English, with some German and Native American languages still spoken in certain parts.

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, September 26, 2014 10:29 PM

This data is very interesting because you can see that most of these statements speak Spanish. I noticed that most people who speak another language at home (in this case Spanish)  besides English are located in the south western of United States. I wonder if this has something to do with people who immigrated to U.S  from south America.