Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

New Life Expectancy Maps Released for Denver, Phoenix, Tulsa

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Three new life expectancy maps illustrate that Americans living only a few miles apart in Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, and Tulsa, OK experience vastly different opportunities to lead long and healthy lives. The maps are the latest in the series created by the VCU Center on Society and Health to show the connection between neighborhood conditions and health. The project is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The maps provide a striking visual that show neighborhoods separated by only few miles can have significant differences in  health. For example, in Denver, if you travel 10 miles down I-25 from Globeville to Washington Park, life expectancy can differ by as much as 11 years. In Phoenix, traveling just 12 miles from Scottsdale to South Phoenix, the life expectancy difference can be as much as 14 years. The health differences shown in the maps aren’t unique to these cities. In fact, they are not unique to any big city, small town or rural area—but are a pattern found across America.

So why does health vary so much neighborhood to neighborhood? It’s rarely due to a single cause, but instead stems from multiple factors such as opportunities for education and jobs, safe and affordable housing, availability of nutritious food at stores and restaurants, opportunities for residents to exercise, walk, or cycle, and access to health care, child care and social services. The maps were designed to start a conversation that leads local leaders to action.

The latest maps are part of a series that includes Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Kansas City, Atlanta, New York, and many others. In the coming months, 11 new maps will be released for selected cities and rural communities across the country. 

View all the maps at  and join the conversation on Twitter using #CloseHealthGaps.