Residents of Elizabeth, Roselle, Linden, and Rahway have a significantly shorter life expectancy compared to people who reside in more affluent western parts of Union County.
The latest data released by the U.S. Small-area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP) has revealed that life expectancy at birth varies significantly across different regions of the United States.
The project produced estimates of life expectancy for most of the census tracts in the United States for the period 2010-2015, showing averages in very local areas often vary widely.
This report comes at a time when life expectancy in the United States has declined for the second year in a row.
The new provisional data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that life expectancy at birth in the United States declined nearly a year from 2020 to 2021, from 77.0 to 76.1 years, taking it to its lowest level since 1996.
The drop in life expectancy marks the biggest two-year decline since 1921-1923.
The report, “Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021,” also highlights that non-Hispanic American Indian-Alaskan Native people (AIAN) had the biggest drop in life expectancy in 2021 – 1.9 years. AIAN people had a life expectancy at birth of 65.2 years in 2021 – equal to the life expectancy of the total U.S. population in 1944. AIAN life expectancy has declined 6.6 years from 2019 to 2021.
The declining life expectancy in the United States has raised concerns among policymakers, particularly in areas where life expectancy is significantly lower than the national average.
Senator Joseph Cryan, who represents the region of Union County with the lowest life expectancy, recently sold a home in Pennsylvania that he purchased shortly after he was first elected to state Senate, prompting speculation that he was trying to escape the fate of his neighbors.
The senator did not comment on the death rate in his constituency.
Union County, where Cryan’s district is located, had a life expectancy of 80.49 in 2014. However, as of 2020, the average life expectancy among residents here was 77.1 years, a loss of more than 40 months.
The USALEEP project’s findings provide an opportunity for policymakers and health officials to address the disparities in life expectancy across the country and develop effective strategies to improve health outcomes for all Americans.
Experts say there are likely factors contributing to the significant difference in life expectancy between residents of Elizabeth, Roselle, Linden, and Rahway, and those living in more affluent western parts of Union County.
One of the primary factors is socioeconomic status. Residents of the Eastern parts of the county are more likely to be low-income and experience poverty, which can lead to limited access to healthcare, fewer healthy food options, and unsafe living environments.
These factors can increase the risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, which can ultimately shorten life expectancy.
In contrast, residents of more affluent Western areas tend to have better access to medical care, more nutritious food choices, and safer surroundings, which can contribute to better health outcomes and longer life expectancy.
Other factors that may contribute to the difference in life expectancy include access to education, employment opportunities, and environmental factors such as air and water quality.
Additionally, cultural and behavioral factors may also play a role, including differences in smoking and exercise habits, alcohol consumption, and access to social support networks.
Overall, the significant difference in life expectancy between these areas highlights the need for policies and initiatives aimed at addressing the underlying factors that contribute to health disparities and improving access to healthcare, education, and other resources for all residents, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location.
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