First-ever Dashboard Displaying U.S. Congressional District Life Expectancy Launched

March 21, 2022

This week, researchers at the Harvard Geographic Insights Lab launched the first-ever dashboard that tracks life expectancies on the U.S. Congressional District level. 

“As our nation transitions towards recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and reducing health disparities, it is imperative for politically relevant public health data to be available in a clear and direct manner. We hope that this initiative, which focuses on congressional districts and health inequities among them, will deliver exactly that.” said Dr. S.V. Subramanian, a professor of Population Health and Geography at Harvard University.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth in the United States declined 1.5 years since the beginning of the pandemic — disparities between non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations increased for the first time in three decades.

Despite persistent health disparities in the United States, health data on the Congressional District level continues to be meager, shedding a light into the desperate need for more robust monitoring to enhance political action.

"This research from the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies [and the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis] will help fill in the gap with needed insight into the state of health among and within congressional districts. It is essential that the policies we draft in response to the Coronavirus pandemic are based on the best available data and help those most in need. This will be a useful resource in that work,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The dashboard can be found here and was released in conjunction with a paper published on March 12, 2022 in Social Science and Medicine. Citation: Takai A, Kumar A, Kim R, Subramanian S V. Life expectancies across congressional districts in the United States. Social Science & Medicine 2022. 298:114855.