A fascinating map showing where people live longer, and where people die sooner:
America is seeing the greatest gap in life expectancy across regions in the last 40 years. While most people will live to 78, some Americans are likely to die more than a decade earlier if they happen to be born in a handful of other counties in the US.
Money has become an increasingly strong determinant of who will live longer. People in wealthy counties outlive their poorer counterparts by as much as 20 years now, the greatest gap that in ages that America has seen in 40 years. In South Dakota’s Oglala Lakota county, for example, the average life expectancy is 66.8, making it the worst county in America. The median income in Oglala Lakota is $30,347, which stands in stark contrast to Colorado’s Summit County where life expectancy is 86.9, making it the highest in the country. Median income in Summit is more than 2.5x higher than it is in Oglala Lakota.
Diving deeper into the bottom five worst counties for life expectancy yields some interest results. Four of these five counties all have Native American populations higher than 80%. The remaining county, Union in Florida, is not majority Native American, but instead is home to the state’s largest prison population. On average, none of the 31,000 people in these five counties will live past the age of 70.
While lifespans have generally increased since 1980, a few pockets in America have actually seen decreasing life expectancy. 13 counties in the US have had falling life expectancy, 8 of which are in Kentucky and all of which are in the South. These counties are overwhelmingly white and have a high incidence of heart disease, cancer, and drug overdoses.
In the photo below, the Queens Tower of the Triborough Bridge is in the foreground. Behind it is the Wards Island tower, and beyond (a little bit in the bottom right of the photo) is Harlem. The photo was taken in 1934.
This photo of Randall’s and Wards’ Islands during the depression (just after the Triborough Bridge was completed by Robert Moses) is fascinating in the ways in which you can see how dramatically the bridge, the island/s, and Harlem have changed in the last 80 years or so.
Note how recently constructed Astoria park (between the arched train bridge and the car bridge on the right hand side) is so new there are no trees and seemingly no grass – just the white reflection of bulldozed dirt.
Above you can see (at the bottom right) the new sewage disposal facility – state of the art in the 1930s, and still the place where everything you flush goes today in 2021.
Also (still in the photo above) note how distinctly Wards Island (below) and Randall’s Island (above) are separated. The 3rd island (top right) is now also joined to the other two, and the fill was leveled to create a series of sports fields and a tennis center.
In the blurry photo above, you can see how the Harlem waterfront (on the East River) had a number of working docks. Also the scraped dirt (white) area in the middle of the photo with a running track, is Jefferson Park – a park created by Moses by bulldozing a number of city blocks – mostly filled with East Harlem Italian residents.
In the photo above – showing the Triborough from 125th Street to Randall’s Island, note just above it, the swing-gate for the Willis Avenue bridge is open to boat traffic, and just above that (black and admittedly blurry) is the 2nd Avenue El, headed from Manhattan, over the Harlem River, and into the Bronx.
The Stadium (above) is where Jesse Owens qualified for the Berlin Olympics, and is now the Icahn Stadium and the site of numerous music festivals.
Lastly, take a look at the traffic on the vehicular bridge. Amazing.