« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

The longevity of place and race


Westerners, in general, live longer than other Americans, according to a recent study by the Harvard University Initiative for Global Health. Northern Plains residents live longest, but 29 of the 50 counties with the highest life expectancy are in the West — 16 in Colorado. Native Americans, however, aren’t as fortunate: Nationally, they have a life expectancy equal to or higher than whites, but in the West, they "have a major mortality disadvantage," as well as the lowest per capita income and the lowest rate of health insurance coverage. They also suffer a high number of alcohol-related deaths, including traffic accidents, cirrhosis and diabetes.

Source: Murray CJL, Kulkarni SC, Michaud C, Tomijima N, Bulzacchelli MT, et al. (2006)
Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States. PLoS Med 3(9): e260