Six of the 10 areas with the lowest life expectancies in the state are in Detroit

Six of the 10 areas with the lowest life expectancies in the state are in Detroit
September 12, 2018 Michigan Radio

New data show the range of life expectancies for different areas in the state.

The numbers are from the U.S. Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project are broken down by census tract. Census tracts can range in size from half of an inner city neighborhood to an entire country, depending on population size.

Six of the 10 census tracts with the lowest life expectancies in Michigan are in the city of Detroit.

Neighborhoods in Battle Creek, Monroe Charter Township and two areas in Flint round out the rest of the ten places with the lowest life expectancies.

Bob Wheaton, a spokesperson with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says counties and cities can use these data to see big differences between small areas.

“What’s different in that neighborhood from a neighborhood that’s directly adjacent to it or only a couple miles away from it?” Wheaton said.

Wheaton says there’s no real way of knowing exactly what causes low or high life expectancy in any given area.

He says state and local officials can find areas that consistently have low life expectancies.

“Then from there, determine what is causing those low life expectancies and make public policy decisions to address them,” he said.

More affluent areas tend to have higher life expectancies. Wheaton says this is due to factors like education, access to healthcare and access to healthy food.

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