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Life Expectancy

Variable Definitions:
Life Expectancy: The age an individual in a certain area is expected to live, based on local mortality rates and other demographic factors


National Center for Health Statistics (using 2011-15 American Community Survey estimates and 2010-15 National Vital Statistics System mortality data)

Years Available:

*Note: Each year of available data shown above is a 5-year estimate, or an average of data collected over a five year period. 5-year estimates are used to increase the reliability of the data at small geographies like neighborhoods and census tracts. The years shown on the NDSC map represent the final year of the five year average (e.g. “2010” represents 2006-2010 data, “2011” represents 2007-2011 data, and so on). For the most impactful comparison of data over time, the ACS recommends comparing non-overlapping years (e.g. 2010-14 with 2015-19).

Why are these variables important to measure?

The term “life expectancy” describes the average number of years an individual can expect to live. This indicator outlines a population’s health and mortality, considering factors such as access to healthcare, lifestyle habits, and educational attainment, among others. It shows how long people can expect to live across place and time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), life expectancy in the U.S. was 76.1 years as of 2021, the lowest level in 25 years. 
This indicator is generated using period life tables, which estimate the number of years a group of people at a specific age may expect to live, assuming the mortality trends from a given year continue for the rest of their lifetimes. 
Written by Fernanda Martinez Montesinos


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). National Center for Health Statistics. Life Expectancy. CDChttps://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/life-expectancy.htm
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2021). Life expectancy at birth. OECD. https://data.oecd.org/healthstat/life-expectancy-at-birth.htm

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