Life Expectancy

In: Culture Interactive Maps Science Source: Washington Post

15 Jun 2011

Average life expectancy varies a lot by location, gender, and race. International comparisons done by the original study conclude that the US is falling behind the rest of the industrialized world.


From a design point of view, take a look at the below version of the map from the original study — the use of a higher contrast color scheme and non-linear legend ranges results in a more striking view of the results. I’m not sure which one I like better. The top one is more information rich and cleaner – but the bottom one slaps you in the face with meaning.


2 Responses to Life Expectancy



June 15th, 2011 at 10:54 am

If you zoom in on the D.C. Region on the bottom map you get an interesting red dot over Baltimore. Apparently living in Baltimore shortens your life by 10 Years.



June 15th, 2011 at 11:04 am

Again, life expectancy is such a B.S. statistic. Some countries terminate pregnancies with potential health issues more often than others, so their life expectancy rates are much higher. Also, traffic accidents and homicides are very tenuously related to overall health, especially since you have a separate indicator for safety. See

In this chart, it’s evident that a good percentage of people in the south have poor diets and exercise habits, but perhaps they value other things more than health. Why is that our concern?

One of the indicators to measure health in the OEDC study was self reported health. If someone lives just like their parents, and outlives them by 5 years, and reports good health, why does their lifespan or relative health matter?

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