Members of some demographic groups in California can expect to live about 20 years longer than members of other demographic groups in that state.
The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), Fremont, Calif., discovered the wide variations in average life expectancies while conducting a block-by-block study of the population of California to examine cancer survival rates across the state.
The CPIC cross-referenced neighborhood-level socioeconomic status, racial makeup, sex and age for about 700,000 deaths among California residents from 1999 to 2001.
The CPIC analyzed results for six racial and ethnic groups: Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, African-American, white, Native American and other/unknown.
Analyses using socioeconomic status as a factor drew on data on education level, employment rates, median household incomes, poverty rates, median rent and median home value.
The CPIC broke socioeconomic status into five levels, and it found that, across the board, women lived an average of 4.8 years longer than men. In the top 20% socioeconomic bracket, the difference was 5.9 years. In the lowest 20% bracket, the difference was only 3.3 years.
Bigger differences showed up among racial groups, with Asian/Pacific Islanders living the longest lives and African Americans living the shortest.
Socioeconomic status affected life expectancy rates, but the impact was variable.