Researchers from Washington State University have found that where you live may predict how long you will live. In a study on centenarians( those aged 100 or over), they found that a person’s living environment and socioeconomic factors may play a significant role in determining how long they can live.
For the study, the researchers examined data on almost 145,000 people who lived in Washington State and died at age 75 or older between 2011 and 2015. The data included each person’s age, residential address, time of death, sex, ethnicity, education level, and whether or not they were married. The researchers also analyzed different neighborhoods in the state and rated the quality of factors such as air pollution, green space exposure, and walkability.
In the end, they found that neighborhood factors such as walkability, higher socioeconomic status, and having mixed age groups tended to correlate positively with the number of people reaching 100 years of age or older.
“These findings indicate that mixed-age communities are very beneficial for everyone involved,” said Rajan Bhardwaj, one of the study’s authors. “They also support the big push in growing urban centers toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores.”
The researchers also found that being white was more correlated with living to 100 and beyond. Bhardwaj thus said that their findings highlight the importance of efforts to tackle disparities in access to healthcare among racial minorities.
The researchers hope their research will inform the development of healthier communities in the long-run, as well as further research in the field among other communities. In the meantime, however, they released an interactive map of areas in Washington State with high rates of centenarian presence for the public.