A new study has found that life expectancy in the United States is at an all-time high -- 78 years and two months, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, it is not rising in every U.S. county, and the disparity is alarming.
The Daily Mail reports that the study in the online journal Population Health Metrics found that life expectancy is falling in hundreds of counties, most of them in the South.
"There are enormous variations within the country," said study author Dr. Christopher Murray.
The CDC does not measure life expectancy by county, but Murray analyzed its data and did just that. For example, he found that the largest declines in life expectancy (two years) were in Mississippi's Madison County, near Jackson, and the adjacent Hughes and Okfuskee counties in eastern Oklahoma. It is rising in places like New York and Washington.
The worst place for men was in Kentucky's Perry County in Appalachia and Mississippi's Madison. Teh study found a man in Fairfax County, Virginia will live a whopping 15 years longer than one in Holmes County, Virginia.
For women, life expectancy was down in 702 of the nation's 3,100 counties. The difference between the life span of a woman in Collier County, Florida and one in Holnes is 12 years, reported Bloomberg.
There is debate as to exactly why life expectancy is falling in some parts of the nation and not others. Murray said he assumed it was because of poverty or racial make-up, but he said the numbers do not support that theory.
Rather, he thinks it has more to do with health habits such as smoking and obesity.
Other experts disagree with that, saying it may be tied to the availability of good health care or with the migration of healthy people from one place to another.
Here at Opposing Views, our unscientific minds think there's a correlation between life expenctancy and how a state votes. Check out these presidential voting maps and see if you don't notice a similarity to the longevity maps above.