CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Where you live can reveal how long you might live, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

Using federal data, the U.S. Small-area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP) identified life expectancies for most neighborhoods across the United States. 

We created interactive maps of North and South Carolina using the data, which show your neighborhood can be the difference between dying in your sixties to living well into your eighties.

Mobile users, if you can't see these maps, click here.

While the average life expectancy in the United States is 78, in North Carolina it's 77 and in South Carolina it's 76, according to federal data.

When you take an even closer look at Charlotte-area neighborhoods, you'll find some places divided by a street where on one side people tend to live well above that age and, on the other, well below.

John and Zelma Sullivan are the exceptions in Grier Heights. 

Both 84 years old, the average life expectancy in their area is 71. Just a mile away, on the other side of North Wendover Road, the average life expectancy is 81, according to the data.

They know people on their side of North Wendover Road generally live different lives than those on the other side.

"They probably had better medical care, better jobs," John Sullivan said.

A similar contract plays out in South Charlotte. The average life expectancy in the Ballantyne area near Rea Road is 88, but if you follow 485 Inner to the Pineville-Matthews Road area, it's 75.

In York County, WCNC found one area around the Rock Hill-York County Airport with a life expectancy of 81 and another just southeast with a life expectancy of 67.

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Dean Dr. Thomas LaVeist said life expectancies often come down to economics and resources.

"If the community is a food desert and there's nowhere to get healthy food, then your options to get healthy food are greatly limited," Dr. LaVeist said.

Dr. LaVeist said people in poorer neighborhoods often experience more crime, a greater challenge in paying bills and ultimately, more stress. He said those factors often lead to bad diets, alcohol and drug use and unprotected sex.

"If you're constantly in fear of threat, constantly in a 'fight or flight' state, your blood pressure is always high, your body is always coursing with cortisol and adrenaline and it begins to lead to accelerating aging and a deterioration of the organs," Dr. LaVeist said.

He said it's not only important to bring more resources to neighborhoods with lower life expectancies, but also critical to teach people how to better cope with stress.


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