By on 4.10.14 in Health & Environment

“Poverty is a thief,” said Michael Reisch, a professor of social justice at the University of Maryland, testifying before a Senate panel on the issue. “Poverty not only diminishes a person’s life chances, it steals years from one’s life.” –from The New York Times

Statewide life expectancy at birth is 78.2 years. Swain County has the lowest life expectancy (72.2) while Watauga has the highest (81.5), with Wake and Chatham close behind (81.3 years). On average, women can expect to live nearly 5 years longer than men. Female life expectancy is 80.6 years; male life expectancy is 75.7.

North Carolina median household income was $46,450 in the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. Median income was lowest in Bladen County ($30,031) and highest in Wake ($65,826).

The graphic below has data for each county in North Carolina for life expectancy (total and by sex) and median income.

How can Watauga County have such a high life expectancy with low median income? It’s likely the impact of the young, relatively healthy—but not yet fully employed—student population at Appalachian State University.

Note: if the graphic is not displaying, check to see if the web address begins with “HTTPS”. If it does, please change this to HTTP and hit refresh. Alternatively, you can visit the graphic on Tableau’s site here.

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