While life expectancy has increased nationwide since 1980, there is still a persistent gap in life expectancy between Baltimore City and the rest of Maryland. A recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a global health research center at the University of Washington, used death records and population counts from the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate life expectancy by county in the United States from 1980 through 2014. IHME’s research found that geographic disparities in life expectancy have grown in recent years.
These findings are especially evident in Maryland, where disparities in life expectancy between counties are greater today than they were 30 years ago. For example, the difference between the county in Maryland with the longest life expectancy, Howard (75 years), and the shortest, Baltimore city (68 years), was about seven years in 1980. But despite increasing average life expectancy in both counties since, the difference between them grew to about 10 years in 1990, with an average life expectancy of about 78 years in Howard County compared to 68 years in Baltimore City. In 2014, the latest year of data in the study, the difference in average life expectancy between Howard County (83 years) and Baltimore City (72 years) increased to about 11 years.
Explore within the map and timeline to find the yearly average life expectancy for every county in Maryland since 1980, while the line graph below will highlight how life expectancy has changed in that county over time, relative to other counties in Maryland.