Night Music: What’s Up

January 18, 2022

Is Vancouver Livable? It Depends

January 18, 2022


A group of UBC scientists has recently published a scholarly article with the weighty title of “A spatiotemporal analysis of inequalities in life expectancy and 20 causes of mortality in sub-neighbourhoods of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1990–2016.” It looks at changes in the causes of death in Metro Vancouver over those thirty years as a function of where the deceased lived and the economic inequalities between districts.

The introduction notes that:

“Urbanisation has been shown to widen health inequalities and increase the number of people at the extreme ends of the disease morbidity and mortality distributions within major global cities.”

The good news is that overall life expectancy acoss Metro continues to grow:

“Over this period, females not only lived longer than males, but the gap between [census tracts] CTs with some of the highest LEs (90th percentile, P90) and the lowest LEs (10th percentile, P10) decreased during this period for females and increased for males, with inequality most recently at its highest for males over the 27-year study period.”

However “In Canada, life expectancy was found to be lower among First Nations communities by an average of 16 years (Tjepkema and Wilkins, 2011) compared to non-Aboriginal adults.”

The survey notes that the area with the lowest life expectancy (LE) is the Downtown Eastside, probably no surprise there, where LE is just 60.2 years. This compares with the UBC Endowment Lands where the LE is a mighty 90.4 years.

“These disparities may result from systemic injustices, such as inequitable health care and nutritional food access, and social and environmental determinants, such as income and race inequality and urbanisation. These factors affect not only mortality rates of chronic diseases over time, but they were also drivers during recent acute health crises, such as the opioid overdose and covid-19 pandemic.”

We also have a pretty good idea about what is, eventually, killing us and how that has changed over time (though I am obliged to note that this is all pre-covid data):

An interesting survey.