MISSISSIPPI DELTA — New analysis finds the average life expectancy in counties and parishes across the Delta region trail the national average by four years for men and two years for women, according to the Clarksdale-based Delta Regional Authority.
The data, which provides county-by-county analysis of life expectancy figures reported by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, provides a snapshot of the region’s challenge to provide access to basic care to communities from Southern Illinois to Louisiana.
Key findings in the data are:
• On average, men in the Delta live to be 71 years old — more than six years younger than men across the country. While women in the Delta live six years longer than Delta men, they are more than two years behind women nationally.
• Among the eight state Delta region, Mississippi had the lowest life expectancy for both men and women, with the average just above 69 years old for men and 76.5 for women.
• Seven Mississippi counties are below 67 years for men, meaning they are behind Brazil, Latvia and the Philippines.
• Among the eight state Delta region, Illinois had the highest average for both at nearly 73 for men, 79 for women.
• Black men and women have lower life expectancies than white men and women in all U.S. counties. Life expectancy for black women ranged from 69.6 to 82.6 years, and from 59.4 to 77.2 years for black men.
Federal co-chairman of the DRA Chris Masingill said, “The key to a healthy economy is a healthy workforce. All of us need to understand the health challenges the Delta faces, so we can work together to overcome them.”