Former Senator John Edwards said during his campaign for President that there were Two Americas: one for the privileged and another for the disadvantaged. Now, researchers at Harvard University have identified Eight Americas in terms of life expectancy:

  • Asian Americans, who have a per capita income of $21,566 and an average life expectancy of 84.9 years (Neergaard, AP/Detroit Free Press, 9/12);


  • Low-income rural whites in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska, who have a per capita income of $17,758 and an average life expectancy of 79 years (USA Today, 9/12);


  • Middle Americans, who have a per capita income of $24,640 and an average life expectancy of 77.9 years;


  • Low-income whites in Appalachia and the Mississippi Valley, who have a per capita income of $16,390 and an average life expectancy of 75 years;


  • Black Middle Americans, who have a per capita income of $15,412 and an average life expectancy of 72.9 years;


  • Western American Indians, who have a per capita income of $10,029 and an average life expectancy of 72.7 years;


  • Southern, low-income, rural blacks, who have a per capita income of $10,463 and an average life expectancy of 71.1 years (AP/Detroit Free Press, 9/12); and


  • Urban blacks in counties with homicide rates that exceed the 95th percentile, who have a per capita income of $14,800 and an average life expectancy of 71 years (USA Today, 9/12).

Among the eight groups, there is a "life expectancy gap of almost 14 years, similar to gaps between economically developed and emerging countries, note the researchers."

This article also summarizes the results by state. Sadly, the bottom twelve come as no surprise:

23. North Carolina: 75.8 years
24. Georgia: 75.3 years
25. Arkansas: 75.2 years
25. Kentucky: 75.2 years
25. Oklahoma: 75.2 years
26. Tennessee: 75.1 years
26. West Virginia: 75.1 years
27. South Carolina: 74.8 years
28. Alabama: 74.4 years
29. Louisiana: 74.2 years
30. Mississippi: 73.6 years
31. Washington, D.C.: 72 years

Florida fares better tied for 11th place. And if that isn't depressing enough, here's a map which graphically illustrates the findings. The full report can be found here.