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Do You Live in a Mayfly County or a Methuselah County? April 26, 2012

Posted by geoff in News.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (Univ. Wash.) surveyed all the counties in the US to determine the change in life expectancy between 1989 and 2009. The change is impressive (the more green, the better), though the investigators who conducted the survey tended to focus on the fact that women’s life expectancies have improved more slowly than men’s (duh).

Women’s Life Expectancy (1989 on left, 2009 on right)
Men’s Life Expectancy (1989 on left, 2009 on right)

The plight of those in the Southeast, however, is very apparent from the graphs:

In Collier, Florida, women live 85.8 years on average. In McDowell, West Virginia, they live to be 74.1. That’s an 11.7-year gap. In 1989, the gap was 8.7 years. For men, the gap is larger – 15.5 years – but it has grown by less than a year since 1989. Men live the longest in Marin, California, at 81.6 years. They live the shortest lives on average in Quitman and Tunica, Mississippi, at 66.1.

So how do you get your country to catch up to the Methuselah counties? You’ve got to fix this:

IHME’s research shows that the biggest drivers of health disparities nationwide are preventable causes of death, including tobacco, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and alcohol.

But I suspect that income/wealth is an even larger driver.


1. Michael - April 26, 2012

Dallas County looks good.

2. Michael - April 26, 2012

Those border Okies up Interstate 35 are in trouble, however.

As you might expect.

3. Michael - April 26, 2012

Those border Okies have a wayward lifestyle, which includes zombie-like cheering for Oklahoma teams against Texas teams.

The actuarial data will show that this bad habit takes two years off their life expectancy, right there.

4. Michael - April 26, 2012

I mean, let’s consider this as a public health issue.

Border Okies drive down here on I35 to yell their lungs out, and watch their team get thrashed. Then they get drunk, and drive back north. Is this a good thing? I think not.

Maybe the Obama administration could write some regulations about this.

5. Gromulin - April 28, 2012

Placer county, CA checking in. Green in 89 and 09. It’s a slice of red in a sea of blue state. Coincidence? No.

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