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New Study Shows 20-Year Difference in Longevity Between U.S. Richest and Poorest Counties

May 2017

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EIRNS/Robert Ingraham
Homeless in a park in Oakland, California, October 2016. See the full article.

May 9, 2017 (EIRNS)—A demographic study prepared by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which was just published in JAMA Internal Medicine, points to a shocking 20-year difference in life expectancy between the poorest and richest counties in the United States. The study also notes that, during the 35-year period from 1980 to 2014, as the gap between rich and poor widened, life expectancy actually fell in absolute terms in these poorer counties, whereas overall life expectancy in the U.S. rose by 5.3 years to 79.1 in that time frame. As EIR has previously reported, the downward shift in life expectancy is even sharper, if only the last 15 years are analyzed.

"Life expectancy in many places in this country is declining. It’s going backward instead of forward... What we are doing right now is not working. We have to regroup,"

Dr. Ali Mokdad, a co-author of the study told the Washington Post, adding: "This is way worse than any of us had assumed." Lead author Laura Dwyer Lindgren said: "Looking at life expectancy at a national level masks the massive differences that exist at the local level."

Of the 10 counties where life expectancy has dropped most, eight are in Kentucky, the Washington Post reported. Kentucky ranks 47th out of the 50 U.S. states in median household income, according to the American Community Survey (2010-2014).