Health Indicator Report of Life Expectancy at Birth
Life expectancy is a measure that is often used to gauge the overall health of a community. Life expectancy at birth measures health status across all age groups. Shifts in life expectancy are often used to describe trends in mortality. Being able to predict how populations will age has enormous implications for the planning and provision of services and support. Small increases in life expectancy translate into large increases in the population. As the life expectancy of a population lengthens, the number of people living with chronic illnesses tends to increase because chronic illnesses are more common among older persons.
Life expectancy by race was calculated using death counts over 5 years, 2009-2013.
Life Expectancy at Birth by Race, Utah, 2009-2013
NotesThe method developed by C.L. Chiang was used to compute life expectancy.
- Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
- Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for Counties in Utah, U.S. Bureau of the Census, IBIS Version 2013
Data Interpretation IssuesLife expectancy at birth is strongly influenced by infant and child mortality; life expectancy later in life reflects death rates at or above a given age and is independent of mortality at younger ages.
DefinitionLife expectancy is an estimate of the expected average number of years of life (or a person's age at death) for individuals who were born into a particular population.
Other ObjectivesOne of Utah's 42 Community Health Status Indicators One of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiolgists (CSTE) Chronic Disease Indicators: "Life Expectancy at Birth"
How Are We Doing?Prevention and control of infectious diseases has had a profound impact on life expectancy during the 20th century. In the United States life expectancy at birth from 1900 to 2012 increased from 48 to 76.4 years for men, and from 51 to 81.2 years for women. In contrast to life expectancy at birth which increased sharply early in the century, life expectancy at age 65 improved primarily after 1950. Among men, life expectancy at age 65 rose from 12 to 17.9 years and among women from 12 to 20.5 years between 1900 and 2012. Improvements in nutrition, hygiene, and medical care contributed to decreases in death rates throughout the lifespan.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Women typically outlive men. Females born in Utah today can expect to live 81.7 years, and males born in Utah can expect to live 77.9 years. This becomes evident in later years as individuals survive from their early sixties into their eighties and older. The population of Utahns aged 85+ was 60.7% female and 39.3% male according to the 2013 ACS 1-year estimate. Utah has a young population and ranks 49th in the percentage of the population aged 65 and over.
What Is Being Done?Now that people are living longer, it is important to look at ways that those added years can be lived in good health. Exercise, healthy diet and weight, not smoking, moderate use of alcohol, and injury prevention habits such as wearing seat belts all contribute to a healthy life span. Improvements in life expectancy increase the proportion of older individuals living in society. Policy-makers must be aware of this trend in order to provide viable and attractive options for elderly persons who require assistance with activities of daily living.
Page Content Updated On 11/10/2014, Published on 12/08/2014