In some KC neighborhoods, money buys longer lives


The privileges of the wealthy include longer lives.

People in the richest areas of the city live up to 13 years longer than those in the poorest areas, city health officials reported Monday.

Those in five inner city zip codes have an average life expectancy of 70 to 72 years, compared to 80 to 83 years for zip codes in the northland and Country Club Plaza areas.

For much of the rest of the city, life expectancy varies from 73 to 79 years, the health department reported Monday to the mayor and city manager.

Cancer and heart disease are the main causes of death in all areas. But people in the inner city zones are twice as likely to get those problems and 20 times more likely to die by homicide, said Rex Archer, city health director.

The infant mortality rate is also about twice as high in zip codes with median family income of less than $40,000 a year, he reported.

For that group, it is 9.8 per 1,000 live births, compared to 4.8 for zip codes with a median income of more than $80.000.

Archer said studies also show that “lack of a high school degree is a huge predictor of early death,” and reading level skills by age 3 is also important.

Mayor Sly James said the data make it clear that poverty, health and related issues have a direct impact on life expectancy.


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