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Life Expectancy In U.S. Faces Widest Wealth Gap in 40 Years


Apr 14, 2023
Life Expectancy In U.S. Faces Widest Wealth Gap in 40 Years

Can your zip code and income correlate to how long you have to live?

Although life expectancy has declined overall in the U.S. during the last three years — it now stands at an average of 76, according to the CDC, as compared to 78 in 2019 — the decline is happening more rapidly in certain areas than in others.

A new report by research platform American Inequality, found a correlation between money and life expectancy, noting that Americans in wealthier countries live an average of 20 years longer than those in poorer areas — marking the widest gap in life expectancy in nearly 40 years.

Related: Compounding Inequality to Compounding Success: Bridging the Racial Wealth Gap

Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota had the lowest life expectancy in the country at 66.8, where the average income of the area is $30,347. By contrast, the county with the highest life expectancy in the U.S. was Summit County in Colorado at 86.9, where the average income is $77,589.

The disparity could be attributed to the rising cost of healthcare, which has nearly doubled over the past two decades and therefore poses a financial burden on Americans, per the report.

The two other counties with the lowest life expectancy were Union County in Florida, where the life expectancy was an average of 67.6 and an average income of $41,770, followed by Todd County, South Dakota at 68.5 years and an average income of $24,257.

Related: How This Innovative Technology is Making Healthcare More Affordable and Accessible

After Summit County, the second and third areas with the highest life expectancy were both in Colorado — Pitkin County at 86.5 years with an average income of $71,244 and Eagle County at 85.9 years and an average income of $84,685.

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