KLTV 7’s Donna McCollum and Jeff Wright report that EAST TEXAS (KTRE) – A new study published in February 2019 claims to have broken down life expectancy in the state of Texas by gender and ethnicity down to the ZIP code and county levels.
According to UT Southwestern Medical Center, new analysis and interactive mapping tool, which uses data from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Center for Health Statistics 2005-2014 death records, revealed dramatic variation by gender, ethnicity, and geography.
“It’s very different depending on where you live in the state and your ethnicity,” said Dr. David Lakey, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for the University of Texas system. “There’s significant disparities in the state of Texas, but when we only look at state-level information, or even county-level information, you don’t have the granularity of the data to really make good decisions.”
Overall life expectancy in Texas is 78.5 years, according to Texas DSHS, which means that on average a child born in Texas on Jan. 1, 2019, can expect to live until spring 2097. However, the mapping tool provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center revealed that many areas of Texas, even down to the county level, may have significant differences between life expectancy.
“The magnitude of the disparities catches my attention. In some areas, people live very long, but in other zip codes, people live pretty short lives,” Lakey explained. “There’s a 26-year difference between zip codes in the state.”
Lakey said the purpose of the data was to drive down to the zip code so that anyone could look zip code by zip code, narrowing down to ethnicity, and see how well your chances are to live a healthy life in the area you chose.