A researcher at Georgetown University has concluded that money, more than race or environment, determines how long people live, and Washingtonians are at the bottom of the national life expectancy list. Residents of Hawaii have the longest life expectancy, he said.
The findings were released in a study conducted by Dr. Conrad Taeuber, director of Georgetown's Center for Population Research. Figures were based on statistical information for the years 1961 through 1971 compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics and the Bureau of Census, where Taeuber was associate director of demographic fields for 21 years.
While Hawaiians can expect to live an average of 73.50 years the average Washingtonian will live to 65.71 years, said Taeuber. Breakdowns on these figures racially are even more dismal for District residents.
A white male living in the District can expect to live to age 66.08, a white female to age 74.76. Life expectancy for a blank male is 58.96 years and 68.34 years for a black female.
In comparing the 1969 median family incomes for the two regions, Taeuber quoted a higher overall figure for Hawaii and said the state's Asian population averaged the largest incomes on the island.
The median family income for the Chinese population totaled $14,179 and the Japanese family income averaged $13,542 annually. White families living in Hawaii averaged $10,559 annually and black families averaged $6,699. The overall median family income was $11,664.
In the District the median family income was $9.606, with white families averaging $14,933 annually and black families averaging $8,518.
Taeuber said the national life span has only increased 1.86 years in the last decade. " . . . Doctors are just keeping more people around to reach old age," he said.
However, poor people do not tend to make use of health resources - even free resources - as often as people with money, he said. This is true of pre-natal health care as well as during later years, said Taeuber.
The national mortality rate for infant deaths, per thousand births, is 16.7. In Washington for every thousand white children born, 20.5 die. For every thousand black children born, 27.6 die. The high infant mortality rate alone is a major element in Washington's last place longevity standing, Taeuber explained.
Most states with large poverty pockets and/or large minority populations have short life exepectancies, he said. States closely trailing Washington include South Carolina (67.96 years), Alabama (69.05 years) along with most of the southern regions that comprise the country's poorest states.
Residents in the western states enjoyed the longest lives and presumably, some of the highest levels of income. They included Utah (72.90 years), North Dakota (72.79 year) and Minnesota (72.96) years.