VIRGINIA, USA — In a new report that analyzes social conditions that can predict life expectancy, four counties in the DMV topped the list as locations where Black people are thriving the most.
The Black Progress Index, through a partnership between NAACP and the Brookings Institution, identified and measures the social conditions that predict long and healthy lives for Black Americans. The report focuses on life expectancy, because it helps to measure the health and well-being, summarizing both biological and non-biological influences on peoples' lives.
"People tend to live longer in places where they evaluate their lives positively and enjoy excellent physical and mental health," the report stated.
On the list, which lists the top 20 locations across the country, Loudoun County, Virginia came in at number five; Fairfax County, Virginia reached number eight; Prince William County, Virginia is listed at 11; and Montgomery County, Maryland rounds out the DMV locations at number 17.
In Manassas Park, Virginia and Weld County, Colorado, the mean life expectancy for Black residents is 96—a national high, according to the report. The same report states that in Jefferson County, Ohio, the average Black person lives 33 fewer years.
"That gap is roughly equivalent to 100 years of progress in living standards, medical science and public health," the report said.
The report uses 13 measurements to determine and explain the variation in the life expectancy in Black people across the country within the counties. The 13 indicators fall within five categories: wealth, human and social capital, environmental quality, safety and family health.
The Black Progress Index's life expectancy for residents in Loudoun County is 82.7, Fairfax County is 82.2, Prince William County is 81.8, and in Montgomery County it is 81.3.
The report also emphasizes that though it measures Black health, it does not de-emphasize social inequalities Black residents in those counties experience. The goal of the research is to identify which social factors are the most important, provide evidence on the size of their effects, and track the places that do better or worse on these factors, the report stated.