THE FACTS: Health Inequities Persist Across Illinois
Across the state, Illinoisans experience health inequities, including a statewide life-expectancy inequity, with 21 counties having communities where life expectancy is less than 70 years, while other areas of the same county have 90 years of life expectancy. We have a trend in poverty in which we see a severe shift in the number of persons in poverty when comparing age 60+ to age 75+, with many counties having 1 in 5 persons ages 75 or older in poverty. There are many counties that have extremely limited or no transportation available to those who cannot drive or do not have a vehicle. We have an aging network that is dependent on an individual having a nuclear family to be informal or formal caregivers when health events arise.
Longevity and longevity compromised: Life expectancy health inequities caused by inequitable living conditions and resources, such as healthcare, transportation, work, and education. Systemic injustice is at the root causes of health inequities.
Some may assume that they’ll live to age 80-100 or more years of life. However, trends across Illinois show that many will not reach those ages and that deep health inequities in life expectancy persist across the state. Health inequities are the systemic patterns of difference in health status and outcomes measured across population groups that are unfair, unjust, and remediable. That means that we as a society can do something about these gaps and that we have a moral imperative to act.
There are 21 counties in Illinois where parts of the county have a life expectancy of less than 70 years old, while persons living in other parts of the same county are afforded 10-30 more years of life expectancy.
Illinois has the worst countywide life expectancy gap in the United States: in Chicago, Streeterville has a life expectancy of 90 years, compared to the lowest life expectancy in Chicago, Englewood, where the life expectancy is 59.9 years. Unfair life expectancy gaps and other health inequities in diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes span the entire state of Illinois.
This and the other large gaps across the state like in Sangamon County and Alexander County are causally linked to racism and class inequities. In more recent years we have come to understand the impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) on physical, mental, and cognitive health across the lifespan. Life Expectancy Data Viz (cdc.gov)