We all know zip codes are a system used by the Post Office to get mail where it needs to go. What many people may not know is that your zip code can also reveal your life expectancy and how much money your household earns.
People who make more money will likely live longer has been a statement that people use vaguely, but statistical data shows money and health actually are linked. Comparing data from Oak Park, one of Sacramento’s lower income neighborhoods, to Elk Grove, one of Sacramento’s wealthier neighborhoods, the numbers show that people in the wealthier neighborhood live longer.
According to city-data.com, the median household average in Elk Grove’s 95624 zip code is $101,198 compared to Oak Park’s 95817 at $27,000.
The California Endowment’s Health Happens Here website compares zip codes and says that a child born in Oak Park’s 95817 will live an average of 77 years, and a child born in Elk Grove’s 95624 will live 79 years, or two years longer.
Isai Gonzalez, an Oak Park resident, never really payed attention to what zip codes say about a person’s life expectancy, but would like to feel he’ll get two more years to live.
“Well, when I was younger I didn’t really mind because I had never lived in an upper class neighborhood,” said Gonzalez. “But looking back, growing up in a better neighborhood would have presented better opportunities for me.
“Two more years of life would be great, I could spend it with loved ones.”
Gonzalez plans to give his kids the chance he didn’t have.
“I plan to do my homework and learn all about the neighborhood I want my kids to grow up in such as if there are gangs there, are there issues with violence and what the education system does to help its students,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez believes money has a lot to do with the education the system.
“Better neighborhoods means better education systems,” said Gonzalez. “I read a story recently about Elk Grove having a better learning curriculum and a better educational system than schools in our community, so I believe that has a lot to do with life expectancy. It isn’t a coincidence.”
For Gonzalez and many of the people who live in zip codes with challenges, it’s about growing up and working hard to give their kids the extra days they might not have.