Science

Atlanta Population’s Life Expectancy Varies By ZIP Code


A new map shows that where you live in Atlanta could make a big difference in how long you’ll live. It was put together by Virginia Commonwealth University and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the map, if you’re born in the 30305 ZIP code in Buckhead, you’re expected to live to age 84.  But just across Interstate 75, those in the 30318 ZIP code are supposed to die 12 years sooner. Life expectancy was also low for many living along the Interstate 20 corridor.

Residents of ZIP codes 30310, 30314, 30354 have the shortest life expectancy at an average of 71 years old. People living in ZIP codes 30327 and 30305  have the longest life expectancy with an average of 84 years old.

Steven Woolf oversees the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The factors responsible for these big differences in life expectancy have a lot to do with the environment in which we live,” Woolf says.

Education and income level can have a big effect on health, Woolf says. Environmental conditions such as where you live, work and go to school make a difference too. He says access to health care, nutritious food and employment; behaviors like smoking and drinking; quality of schools; economic investment; air and water pollution also play a role.

Many of the Atlanta ZIP codes that the study examined with a lower life expectancy include poor areas.

“So neighborhood conditions matter a lot to our health,” Woolf says.

The center studied other cities such as Chicago, Richmond and Las Vegas and found similar results to Atlanta.