Place Matters: Life Expectancy in Eastern Jackson County
Notable advancements have been made in life expectancy in the United States over the past century. A person born today is expected to live, on average, 30 years longer than a person born in 1900. Much of this increase is due to public health interventions such as improvements in immunization rates, advances in sanitation, workplace education and regulations, and policies and programs to reduce smoking.
Average life expectancy is one of the most fundamental measures of the health of a population and community. In this report, we present average life expectancy estimates for all ZIP Codes within our service area, which includes all of Jackson County except the areas within the city limits of Kansas City and Independence. The results are sobering. An 8 year variance in life expectancy rates exists in ZIP Codes that are located in close proximity to one another. This observed disparity in life expectancy begs the question: Why is there such a significant difference in life expectancy rates among residents who live a few miles a part? One significant factor reflected in our analysis is the finding that reduced life expectancy is strongly related to community-level socioeconomic conditions.
Currently in the United States, the richest 1 percent of men live 14.6 years longer on average than the poorest 1 percent of men, while among women in those wealth percentiles, the difference is 10.1 years on average. We are finding through our analysis that place matters, and your ZIP Code can be more telling about your life expectancy than your genetic code.
We recognize than life expectancy provides only a partial image of the public’s health and that the quality of one’s health while alive may be equally important. We hope the information in this report is helpful to individuals and communities in identifying and pursuing opportunities to improve health. Toward this goal, we look forward to working together to create environments in which all residents can live longer and healthier lives.
Read the full report below: