Large Gap in Life Expectancy Reveals Growing Inequality Across US

Posted by K R on

New research from the University of Washington in Seattle has revealed large and growing geographical inequality in the life expectancy of Americans drawn along lines of risky behavior, race, education, and access to health care. The study is the first of its kind to track health disparities at the county level, offering granulated data that authors hope could be used to inform better, more targeted policies that could reverse a growing trend of inequality in life expectancy. “We hope that our findings start this debate,” said Ali Mokdad, a doctor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and author on the paper. “We need to invest in keeping people living longer and healthier.” While the authors found that life expectancy at the national level had increased by an average of 5.3 years between 1980 and 2014 to 79.1 years for men and women combined, they also found the number to be highly misleading — a statistic that “masks massive variation at the county level.”

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