A neighborhood-scale life expectancy map of Las Vegas, created by researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Center on Society and Health with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is the latest in a series developed to raise public awareness of how health is shaped by social and environmental factors across the United States and to support the work of local officials and community organizations to reduce health disparities.

The map offers some stark differences in health data in the city – life expectancy can differ by as much as 16 years in the nine miles that separate The Strip from southeast Las Vegas.

“The health differences shown in these maps aren’t unique to one area. We see them in big cities, small towns, and rural areas across America,” said Derek Chapman, associate director for research, VCU Center on Society and Health. “Our goal is to help local officials, residents, and others understand that there’s more to health than health care and that improving health requires having a broad range of players at the table.”

The Las Vegas Healthy Communities Coalition — comprised of nearly 20 community-based groups ranging from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to Vegas PBS — is already tackling many of the factors that influence life expectancy including education, health, the environment, public safety and workforce development. Led by the United Way of Southern Nevada, the coalition is working to spur partnerships and collaboration among diverse community-based organizations and the sharing of resources and best practices in order to improve the health and well-being of Las Vegas valley residents.

In 2013, VCU and RWJF released similar maps for Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. In the coming months, 19 additional maps will be released for cities and rural areas across the country. More information is here.

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