Life Expectancy in Rochester Region Falls by 3 Years Since 2013

People of color and people living in ZIP codes with low socioeconomic status affected the most

Submitted by Common Ground Health

Spikes in the number of deaths from drug overdoses, homicide, heart disease and COVID-19 led to a three-year drop in life expectancy in the Finger Lakes region from 2013 to 2021.

The average life expectancy for the region peaked at 80.5 years in 2013 before falling to 77.3 years by 2021.

The drop that started in 2013 erased all the gains in life expectancy recorded from 2000 to 2012.

This is according to a new data spotlight on life expectancy for the nine-county Finger Lakes region released in March by Common Ground Health.

The analysis was based on information from the New York State Department of Health Vital Statistics.

Life expectancy declines were largest for people of color and people living in ZIP codes with low socioeconomic status, leading to the largest gap in life expectancies since at least 2000.

In 2021, those living in low socioeconomic status ZIP codes had a life expectancy that was 9.2 years lower than those living in high socioeconomic status ZIP codes. Life expectancies fell 7.5 years for Black non-Latino residents and 6.8 years for Latino residents from their respective peaks. In contrast, the life expectancy of white residents declined only 2.5 years.

“The color of your skin or amount of resources in your neighborhood should not determine how long you live,” said Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health. “We know how to close these gaps: we can reverse overdoses, we can de-escalate violence and we can prevent drug addiction, heart disease and COVID. What we need is continued commitment to public health preventative measures and immediate action to ensure that everyone is able to live a long and healthy life.”

Many of the root causes of the inequities are outline in previous Common Ground Health reports, such as “ Overloaded: The Heavy Toll of Poverty on Our Region’s Health, The Color of Health: The Devastating Toll of Racism on Black Lives.”

“We never forget that these statistics represent loved ones lost too soon,” said Marc Solomon, director of analytics at Common Ground Health. “We encourage the community to read our previous reports, which outline the underlying causes of these disparities. The reports summarize the actions our community has said it needs to address the inequitable outcomes we see reflected in the life expectancy data.”

To read the original study, visit