U.S. counties with a life expectancy of 80 years or more

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/11/u-s-counties-with-a-life-expe.html


Minnesota must have something in the water.

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The heavy concentration of locations in Southern Florida sets alarm bells ringing for me.

I strongly suspect these aren’t places where people who are born have a life expectancy of 80+.

I suspect Southern Florida is a place where well off people who are close to 80 move when they retire.

If so, it’s potentially a misleading map – in theory imagine a place where the entire population moves in at 79 and dies at 80. That place has a life expectancy of 80, but that’s actually a really bad outcome for residents. 79 year olds nationally have a life expectancy of about 88.

What you really want to see is a mapping of where residents have a longer life expectancy compared to residents with similar demographic characteristics.


If you want something to keep longer you stick it in the freezer.



“Not for much longer, sure”
Too soon?


Mapping to geography gives the (likely false) sense that small fraction of “the country” (<~25%?) has an >80yr life expectancy. It would be useful context to know what fraction of the population lives in these long-lived areas. Major population centers like the Bay Area, LA, NYC look very green on this map.


California, for some reason has a large area.


To be fair, the only two people that live in Delaware are me and Joe Biden, and I’m bringing down the average. And Delaware only has 3 counties.


I think that has to do with the interplay of Cartography and Geometry. :wink:

There look to be large areas in those fly-over states where becoming an octogenarian is rare.


80.7 here in Little White Shithole, aka Murray County, GA. These are current figures which count aged rural residents who grew up on home gardens, combined with our insanely high proportion of opiate addicts and toothless meth monsters. It’s a darned shame that Covid-19 and the Grim Reaper prefer to munch on old bones.

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WI HWY 29 almost tracks with that green line.



The line through South Dakota is I-90.

That huge swath of green around southern MN is adjacency to the Mayo Clinic, I-90, I-94, and I-35.


If you had somehow managed to acquire real estate along the California coast line you’d probably refuse to die too.


I was thinking the very same thing.

What accounts for the line down the Texas border?

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In a lot of areas, the jump in life expectancy is going to be misleading.

If you compare the life expectancy of healthy 21 year olds and healthy 60 year olds, the life expectancy of 60 year olds is actually longer by a few years in the US.

Why? Because a certain percentage of 21 year olds won’t make to 60 due to spontaneous combustion, freak gardening accidents, and all of the other random things that can happen in life.

But even though on average a healthy 21 year old is in better shape than a healthy 60 year old, 100% of 60 year olds will make it to 60. There are no time machines that can stop this from being true.

In some areas of the country, there have been things happening – plant closings, fading farm economies, etc. – which drive out large numbers of younger people, leaving behind a much older population. That can have the effect of actually driving up the life expectancy, not because people are any healthier, but only because the people left behind are already ahead of the curve.

This kind of depopulation doesn’t always have this effect. Sometimes it’s not just the younger people who leave, but also the older healthier population as well, which leaves behind a uniformly unhealthy population, and you’ll see a drop in life expectancy. But a jump in life expectancy can mean something else than a population becoming healthier over time – it can actually suggest the opposite.


So much for moving back to Wilmington when I retire…

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This could double as a map of which counties have prospered under neoliberalism over the past 40 years and which were left behind.

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Don’t even have to look that hard to know Santa Fe and Los Alamos counties in New Mexico are on that list. Richest in the state as well, natch. Federal government and luxury art pay very well.

Taos county? Sure, I’ll believe it. Wait, Union?? CATRON??

Surprised to see St. Charles MO on the over-80 list.

To be fair, Delaware only has three counties.

I suspect there’s a reservation-shaped hole in the green areas, but am not super familiar with the area.

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