May 8, 2017

The 20-year life expectancy gap within the U.S.

Life expectancy in the U.S. varies by more than 20 years depending on what county someone lives in, according to a new report in JAMA Internal Medicine. University of Washington researchers found the gap between counties grew from 1980 to 2014 and predicted the trend will continue.

Why it matters: Public health experts have said our zip code determines our health more than our genetic code — these findings show just how big the gap is, and that it is widening. Poverty, education, and unemployment as well as smoking, lack of exercise and access to quality health care explained 75% of the difference in life expectancy, illustrating there are many interconnected levers to pull in shaping health policy.

Reproduced from 'Inequalities in Life Expectancy Among US Counties, 1980 to 2014: Temporal Trends and Key Drivers'

Best and worse places: Central Colorado counties had the highest life expectancy (87 years) in 2014. North and South Dakota counties encompassing Native American reservations had the lowest-- 66 years.

Where things got worse: Life expectancy grew 5.1 years overall but in some places it actually fell between 1980 and 2014. 8 of the 10 counties with the largest declines in life expectancy are in Kentucky.

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Rural America set to lose political power after 2020 census

Ottawa, Illinois, 2019. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

In most of the 10 states that will likely lose a House seat due to reapportionment beginning in 2022, current demographic trends are poised to shift political power from rural counties to metropolitan counties, according to an analysis by The Hill's Reid Wilson.

Why it matters: Census counts are crucial for determining political representation in the House, and minor changes in population can alter a state's power in Congress for a decade.

Go deeperArrowJan 5, 2020

Cigna's big divestiture on its life and disability insurance business

Photo: Julia Rendleman/Getty Images for Eventive Marketing

Cigna finally pulled the trigger on selling its life and disability insurance business, netting $5.3 billion after taxes from New York Life.

The big picture: Health insurers have been divesting products that have less to do with actual medical care and instead combining with companies that sell drug benefits

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Mapping credit inequality in the U.S.

Data: New York Fed; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

This map is a vivid depiction of credit inequality in the United States. The dark areas show counties where a large proportion of the population has no access to credit, while the lighter areas are considered "credit-assured" or "credit-likely."

Why it matters: Communities with good access to credit can grow faster and prove more resilient to shocks than their less creditworthy counterparts.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019