Where you live can make a huge difference in your life expectancy. Americans are living longer overall, but a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that in some parts of the country life expectancy is dropping.
Significant Geographical Differences:
A county-by-county analysis of mortality shows that people in some places live an average of 20 years less than those in more fortunate areas. The disparities have increased since 1980.
What Explains the Differences?
Much of the difference might be attributed to poverty. This leads to poor diet, fewer opportunities for exercise and lack of access to health care. Certain other countries such as Australia have done far more to provide preventive health care to a large portion of the population and to support people in changing unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or inactivity.
Life expectancy has dropped sharply in Kentucky and is low in central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta and the Dakotas. Places where life expectancy has increased include the District of Columbia, Loudoun County, Virgina, Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco and parts of Alaska.