For the first time ever, the Oregon Health Authority has produced a map of life expectancy by census tract. The various shaded areas in the map above show that it makes a real difference where in Oregon a person is born.
Darker areas—most of them in the northern Willamette Valley and the Columbia River Gorge—indicate longer expected life spans. Those are also areas that previous studies have shown have higher incomes, higher levels of education and better access to health care than the lighter-shaded areas.
The heaviest concentration of lightly shaded areas, southwestern Oregon, is a part of the state hard hit by the demise of logging and related natural resource jobs.
The socio-economic differences between richer and poorer areas in the state can translate into significantly different life spans—the average Oregonian born in more prosperous census tracts can expect to live an average of 85.2 years, while those born in the poorest areas may live an average of just 71.3 years.