A Mile Makes a Difference: VCU Researchers Study Life Expectancy in Richmond


by Colby Rogers

What’s the difference in life expectancy between living in the Fan and living in Gilpin Court? Around 17 years, according to a new study conducted by VCU’s Center on Society and Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

As reported by the New York Times in a piece that examines the life-expectancy rates of four American cities, Gilpin Court represents Richmond’s lowest area with an average age of 63. That’s a figure on par with life expectancy in Haiti, the Times notes.

Richmond’s highest life expectancy? That would be in Westover Hills, where residents might expect to live on average 20 years longer than residents in Gilpin Court.

Perhaps the most astonishing finding in the Richmond data is that residents living in the Virginia Commonwealth University area just a mile away from Gilpin Court have an average life expectancy of 76, or 13 more years. Roughly speaking, that’s around 3.25 years added to life expectancy for every quarter of a mile from Gilpin.

Of the four cities studied so far, which include Atlanta, Chicago and New York City, Richmond has the lowest life expectancy with an average of 73 years. Top marks go to New York City, which clocks in at an average of 81 years.

The study examined factors of death rates such as gun violence and disease, as well as sociological factors such as gentrification. You can find more on the study provided by VCU here.

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