Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oregon Life Expectancy: Eight Largely Rural Counties Showed Declines for Women from 1983-1999.

(I know this is not exactly a housing story, but I'm gonna shoehorn it in here anyway).

Various mainstream media stories in last couple of days have reported that life expectancy has declined in some counties in the United States from 1961-1999 or 1983-1999. The Oregonian story HERE says that 180 counties in the US had declining life expectancies for women from 1983-1999 .

None of stories I have seen have included Oregon specific data on life expectancies. However, I was able to track down and extract Oregon county level data from the source; a PDF file of the original report that led to the media stories, with national summary results, can be found HERE.

The Excel file I created HERE contains two worksheets with an extract of selected information for All Oregon counties A. From 1961-1999 and B. From 1983-1999. (When looking at the data my read is that for any given year the data shows the life expectancy for a person born in that year).

1983-1999, Life Expectancy for Women DID Decline in Eight Oregon Counties
According to my calculations, there ARE EIGHT counties in Oregon where the life expectancies of women declined from 1983-1999. The Oregon counties with declining life expectancies for women from 1983-1999 were largely rural: Clatsop, Grant, Harney, Lake, Linn, Malheur, Morrow, and Union. The largest decline in LE for women was 1.3%.

1961-1999, NO Declines in Life Expectancy.
My summary calculation using data for the longer period of 1961-1999 (with Multnomah County data included below to provide a county specific example):
  1. Life expectancies in ALL Oregon counties increased for BOTH men and women. Male life expectancies grew faster than women. (Multnomah County LE for men increased by 7.5 years, and for women by 5.1 years).
  2. As a result of the variable rates of men/women growth, the gap between life expectancies of men and women declined. (The Multnomah County gap declined by 30% or 2.4 years).
  3. Women still had substantially longer life expectancies than men in 1999. (Multnomah County women LE was 79.35 years vs. LE of men at 73.71 years, a remaining gap of more than 5 1/2 years).

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