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Life expectancy rates can now be tracked by zip codes, street addresses

Residents in Danville seem to have a higher life expectancy rate than those who live in Perryville or Junction City, according to data recently released in the United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP). However, life expectancies can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even on the same street within each city.

According to a news release from the Neighborhood Life Expectancy Project, the government is making data available to show people across the United States that where they live — down to the census tract level — affects how long they may live.

USALEEP is the first public health outcome measure available nationwide at the census tract level which measures life expectancy at birth for nearly every neighborhood in the country.

These data zero-in on much smaller populations (about 4,000 people, on average) to tell a story of health outcomes at a granular level. They show how life expectancy can change just by living across the street or a block away, and what it means to grow up in one neighborhood versus another one nearby.

The report shows the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.08 years, and the average in Kentucky to be 75.8 years.

Boyle County’s average life expectancy of 77.02 years is slightly higher than the state’s average, yet slightly lower than the overall national average. Life expectancy average Casey County is 75.14 years; Garrard County, 77.56; Lincoln County, 75.37; and Mercer County, 76.03.

However, specific locations in each county can show different figures.

By using the project’s interactive tool, found at rwjf.ws/2rNmBnd, the public can add a zip code to see that area’s life expectancy rate. There is even an option to add a street address to see that road’s specific life expectancy average.

In Danville, for example, the project shows the highest life expectancy is 80.5 years in the Green Acres subdivision and Ridgeview Road areas in the north end of town. The lowest is in the south end of town in the Cloverdale and Baughman Avenue areas with 73.1 years.

Perryville’s average life expectancy is 77.1 years and Junction City’s is 74.4 years.

The average rate for the upper end of East Main Street is 78.2 years, while just down the road the rate is 77.2.

Other average rates include: Lancaster Road, 77.2 years; Old Bridge subdivision, 77.2 years; and Harrodsburg Road, 78.2 years.

“The more local the data, the more useful they can be for pinpointing disparities and driving action,” said Don Schwarz, vice president for program with RWJF. “By measuring health at the neighborhood level, USALEEP reveals gaps that may previously have gone unnoticed. We hope community leaders will use the data alongside other community-based metrics to target resources more effectively and achieve health equity.”

Although county-, city-, and ZIP code-level data have provided similar information, they often don’t tell the full story. as neighborhoods right next to each other can experience drastically different opportunities for health and well-being. Census tract-level data offer information on a much smaller and targeted group of people making it easier to create a more complete picture of health at a local level.

A few examples of what you might find with these data:

• Variations in average life spans within cities and towns — sometimes as much as 20 – 25 years within less than a 10-mile radius.

• “Islands of disadvantage” where people face serious health challenges and have shorter life spans.

• How living near a major highway or in a high-crime neighborhood may affect residents’ life expectancy.

• How life expectancy can change just by living across the street or a block away.

The USALEEP  is a joint effort of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)