Top Causes of Years of Potential Life Lost by Geography

New York Finger Lakes Region (2013 - 2015)

There are differences in the causes and rates of premature mortality between urban, suburban and rural areas. Much of this disparity is related to the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in the populations. In general, the YPLL rates are highest in urban ZIP codes. As with many other segmentations, the biggest urban disparity is driven by heart disease. The rates for homicide, drug overdose and premature birth disorders are also significantly higher in urban settings. Rural areas have somewhat higher YPLL rates from cancer and heart disease compared to the suburbs and significantly higher YPLL rates from accidents (similar to the urban level.) It is also interesting to note that rural areas have the lowest YPLL rates from drug overdoses.


Methodology note: The SES index ranking was developed by Common Ground Health and calculated using a variety of socioeconomic indicators from the American Community Survey including average income, poverty rates, education levels, housing value, and homeownership. Each ZIP code is assigned a socioeconomic (SES) index ranking from 1 to 5. The lower SES ZIP codes tend to have lower average income, higher poverty rates, lower prevalence of college degrees, etc.

Methodology note: Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a widely used measure to assess the rate of premature mortality. YPLL places a larger weight on the deaths of younger people, in contrast with overall mortality statistics which are dominated by deaths of the elderly. The YPLL rates in Common Ground Health analyses are derived using 75 years as the baseline. A death at age 65 has YPLL of 10, where as a death at age 35 has a YPLL of 40. The rates are calculated per 100,000 population and are age-sex adjusted to account for differences in population distribution.

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