In the American Human Development Index, life expectancy serves as a proxy for the capability to live a long and healthy life. It counts as one-third of the overall index value.
Advancing human development requires, first and foremost, expanding the real opportunities people have to avoid premature death by disease or injury, to enjoy protection from arbitrary denial of life, to live in a healthy environment, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to receive quality medical care, and to attain the highest possible standard of physical and mental health. Securing a long and healthy life is integrally connected to the other two components of the index: access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Overall, Los Angeles is a healthy county in a state with very good health outcomes. A baby born today in Los Angeles County can expect to live 82.1 years, on average—a longer life expectancy than that of the average Californian or the average American. If Los Angeles County were a country, it would rank an impressive eleventh in the world in terms of longevity. But averages mask important differences. Detailed data on local communities and population subgroups are essential in order to study success and take action to reduce disadvantage and vulnerability.
The life expectancy variations by race and ethnicity in Los Angeles County mirror those of the state and nation as a whole. The longest-lived population is Asians, with a life expectancy of 87.3 years. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) have a life expectancy of 75.4 years—almost a dozen-year gap. Asian and Latino Angelenos live longer than the average LA County resident; the remaining groups have life expectancies below the county average.
For more detailed information about LA County's health picture, including the important and oft-neglected social determinants of health, visit Measure of America's site to access A Portrait of Los Angeles County.