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Unemployment,Income Affect Life Length 12/18 06:16

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Even your lifespan can be local.

   Researchers have long said that health disparities are heavily influenced by 
where you live. New data from the National Center for Health Statistics show 
just how much your neighborhood can impact the length of your life.

   In recent years, the U.S. has seen overall life expectancy decrease, from 
78.7 years in 2015 to 78.6 years in 2017. Experts have pointed to opioid 
addiction and an increase in suicides as the main reasons.

   Behind that national average are American neighborhoods where recently born 
residents can expect to live much longer, or much shorter, lives.

   The Associated Press analyzed life expectancy and demographic data for 
65,662 census tracts, which are geographic areas that encompass roughly 4,000 
residents. The AP found that certain demographic qualities --- high rates of 
unemployment, low household income, a concentration of black or Native American 
residents and low rates of high school education --- affected life expectancy 
in most neighborhoods.

   An increase of 10 percentage points in the unemployment rate in a 
neighborhood translated to a loss of roughly a year and a half of life 
expectancy, the AP found. A neighborhood where more adults failed to graduate 
high school had shorter predicted longevity.

   New York state had the largest range for life expectancy among its 
neighborhoods, spanning 34.5 years. The places with the highest and lowest 
estimates are both in New York City. Children born between 2010 and 2015 in 
part of the northern half of Roosevelt Island have an estimated life expectancy 
of 59 years; a child born 6 miles away in Chinatown in lower Manhattan can 
expect to live 93.6 years.

   In one North Carolina neighborhood --- Fearrington Village in Chatham County 
--- a child born between 2010 and 2015 can expect to live 97.5 years, the 
highest estimated lifespan for any neighborhood in the U.S. A child in part of 
Stilwell in Adair County, Oklahoma, can expect 59 years on average, the 
nation's lowest.

   The AP analysis also found discrepancies among states. Life expectancy in 
Hawaii topped all other states at 82 years. Mississippi's estimate of 74.9 was 
the lowest, followed closely by West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

   The AP analyzed 88.7 percent of all U.S. census tracts. Maine and Wisconsin 
were excluded because some of their death records lacked home addresses of the 
deceased.

   The data is part of a new partnership between the National Center for Health 
Statistics, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The National Association for 
Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), and the National 
Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Through the collaboration, researchers 
used six years of death records and demographic data to create a longevity 
estimate for nearly every census tract in the country.


(KA)

 
 
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