Where Someone Lives May Impact Longevity of Life

New evidence shows that moving to urban areas in the Midwest or either coast could increase the longevity of an individual’s life.

New evidence from a study showed that some locations enhance longevity more than others for various reasons. The study demonstrated that when a 65-year-old individual moves from a metro area in the 10th percentile, one that enhances longevity, to one that was in the 90th percentile, it could increase their life by approximately 1.1 years.

"There's a substantively important causal effect of where you live as an elderly adult on mortality and life expectancy across the United States," said study co-author Amy Finkelstein, a professor in MIT's Department of Economics, in a press release. "We wanted to separate out the role of people's prior experiences and behaviors—or health capital—from the role of place or environment.”

In the study, the investigators noted that health capital could be considered obesity, smoking, or other behaviors due to the region where a person lives. However, this study brings to light how the location itself can affect an individual in a more general sense.

The study also found that many urban areas in the Midwest or either coast had positive effects on longevity, whereas there were negative effects for individuals moving south or southwest.

The study assessed how individuals fared when moving from one location to another and compared individuals who had the same starting location before moving. The investigators also accounted for preexisting health conditions before looking into how location affected lifespan.

"Differences in health care across places are large and potentially important," Finkelstein said in the press release. "But there are also differences in pollution, weather, [and] other aspects. … What we need to do now is get inside the black box of 'the place' and figure out what it is about them that matters for longevity.”

Reference

Comparing seniors who relocate long-distance shows where you live affects your longevity. ScienceDaily. News release. September 1, 2021. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210901113734.htm