Divergent trends in life expectancy across the rural-urban gradient and association with specific racial proportions in the contiguous USA 2000-2005.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


To estimate county-level adult life expectancy for Whites, Black/African Americans (Black), American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) and Asian/Pacific Islander (Asian) populations and assess the difference across racial groups in the relationship among life expectancy, rurality and specific race proportion.


We used individual-level death data to estimate county-level life expectancy at age 25 (e25) for Whites, Black, AIAN and Asian in the contiguous USA for 2000-2005. Race-sex-stratified models were used to examine the associations among e25, rurality and specific race proportion, adjusted for socioeconomic variables.


Lower e25 was found in the central USA for AIANs and in the west coast for Asians. We found higher e25 in the most rural areas for Whites but in the most urban areas for AIAN and Asians. The associations between specific race proportion and e25 were positive or null for Whites but were negative for Blacks, AIAN, and Asians. The relationship between specific race proportion and e25 varied across rurality.


Identifying differences in adult life expectancy, both across and within racial groups, provides new insights into the geographic determinants of life expectancy disparities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jian, Y; Neas, L; Messer, LC; Gray, CL; Jagai, JS; Rappazzo, KM; Lobdell, DT

Published Date

  • December 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1367 - 1374

PubMed ID

  • 31273406

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8026113

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1661-8564

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1661-8556

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00038-019-01274-5


  • eng