America, Life Expectancy at Birth
Average life expectancy at birth from 1900 to 2015, by race and gender.
I used the NCHS's "Death rates and life expectancy at birth" dataset.
My idea with this graphic was to show to the idea that "life expectancy has gone up" over the past 100 years and see if the story was different for males compared to females, or black Americans compared to white Americans.
There is an interesting shift starting in the 1950's of female life expectancy beginning to rise above male life expectancy:
- Before the 1960's, white Americans had higher life expectancies at birth than black Americans.
- After the 1960's, female Americans had higher life expectancies at birth than male Americans.
I'm not sure why this is. Some conjectures:
- The Civil Rights movement may have resolved some racial differences.
- There may be biological differences between men and women than systematically give women a life expectancy advantage, but these differences may have been overshadowed by black Americans being second-class citizens until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the associated hardship that black Americans dealt with because of that.
- Check out Scientific American's "Why is life expectancy longer for women than it is for men?".
This graphic uses the "shadow context" technique I've been working on for a bit, by showing the life expectancy for all race-gender pairings in grey in the background, while emphasizing the facet's specific data in a bold black. The more I think about it, I think this "shadow context" technique is trying to overcome some limitations of static graphics and isn't needed in a dynamic graphic that can take user interaction.
Code used to create "America, Life Expectancy at Birth"