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Average Life Expectancy

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Read Next in Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health 2015-2017:
Premature Mortality

What is Average Life Expectancy?

Life expectancy is the average number of years a person in a defined community can expect to live based on current mortality (death) rates and is used as an overall indicator of the health of the population. It is a relatively understandable measure that easily allows public health officials, health care providers, and policy makers to communicate trends in the health status of a community. Life expectancy is influenced by social and economic characteristics including income, education, health care access, housing and neighborhood conditions, and environmental factors.3

What are the Main Findings?

  • While U.S. life expectancy decreased for the third year in a row, Sonoma County life expectancy did not change significantly from 2013-2015 to 2015-2017.
  • Average life expectancy at birth for Sonoma County and California residents is about 82 years. Sonoma County and California residents have, on average, a longer life expectancy than the U.S. population (about 79 years).
  • On average, women in Sonoma County live 4 years longer than men live.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino residents live 6-7 years longer than American Indian/Alaska Native, African American and white, non-Hispanic residents of the county.
  • Life expectancy varies across Sonoma County by about 4 years. On average, residents of Healdsburg and Sebastopol – West County live longer than residents of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Cloverdale and Geyserville.

How can we use this Information to Improve Health, Well-being, and Equity?

To increase life expectancy in Sonoma County, the following groups with shorter life expectancies should be considered as target populations for programs and policies to address risk factors for early death.

  • Men
  • American Indian/Alaska Native, white, non-Hispanic, and African American/Black residents
  • Residents of Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Cloverdale and Geyserville

What is the Average Life Expectancy in Sonoma County?

Average Life Expectancy - Sonoma County: 81.6 years, California: 81.5 years, U.S: 78.6 yearsAverage life expectancy at birth refers to the average number of years a group of infants would live if the group were to experience the age-specific mortality rates present in that year of birth. Average life expectancy at any age (e.g. 65 years) is the average number of additional years a group of people of a certain age can expect to live assuming age-specific mortality rates remain constant. Compared to average life expectancy at birth, examining age-specific life expectancy is often more useful for shorter term planning because this measure is based on how much longer, on average, a population is projected to live.

Average life expectancy at birth

While the U.S. life expectancy at birth decreased for the third year in a row, life expectancy in Sonoma County has remained constant. In 2015-2017, the average life expectancy at birth in Sonoma County was 81.6 years, comparable with California life expectancy at birth (81.5 years) and higher than the national average (78.6 years) (Figure 2). Women in Sonoma County had a significantly higher life expectancy at birth (83.9 years) compared to men (79.6 years). 

Average life expectancy at age 65

In 2015-2017, Sonoma County residents age 65 could expect to live, on average, another 21 years, with women expected to live slightly longer (22.1 years) than men (19.8 years) (Figure 2). 

Figure 2. Average life expectancy by age and sex, Sonoma County 2015-2017

Figure 2. Average life expectancy by age and sex, Sonoma County 2015-2017

View Figure 2 data in table format

Does Average Life Expectancy Vary by Race/Ethnicity?

Life expectancy varied by about seven years across racial/ethnic groups in Sonoma County. In 2015-2017, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanic/Latinos had the highest average life expectancy (88.0 and 86.8 years, respectively) (Figure 3). Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanic/Latinos had a significantly higher average life expectancy compared to African American/Blacks (82.3 years), white, non-Hispanics (81.4 years), and American Indian/Alaska Natives (80.8 years).

Figure 3. Average life expectancy by race/ethnicity, Sonoma County 2015-2017

Figure 3. Average life expectancy by race/ethnicity, Sonoma County 2015-2017

Source: California Department of Public Health, California Integrated Vital Records System, 2015-2017; Accessed 4/8/2019

View Figure 3 in table format

Does Life Expectancy Vary by Geography?

Life expectancy varied regionally by about 4 years (Figure 4). In 2015-2017, average life expectancy in Healdsburg (84.0 years) and Sebastopol – West County (83.7 years) was significantly higher than the overall average life expectancy in Sonoma County (81.6 years).

Figure 4. Average life expectancy by select geography, Sonoma County 2015-2017

Figure 4. Average life expectancy by select geography, Sonoma County 2015-2017

Source: California Department of Public Health, California Integrated Vital Records System, 2015-2017; Accessed 4/8/2019

View Figure 4 data in table format

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Santa Rosa, CA 95405
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Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health 2015-2017

Review of Life Expectancy and Premature Death 2015-2017

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