Fort Worth

This Fort Worth ZIP code has the lowest life expectancy in Texas

According to Downtown Fort Worth Inc., there are approximately 37,366 private employees working downtown.
According to Downtown Fort Worth Inc., there are approximately 37,366 private employees working downtown.

Fort Worth’s 76104 ZIP code has the shortest life expectancy in Texas at 66.7 years — an age far lower than the state’s 78.5 year average, according to a study UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center mapped life expectancy of Texans by ZIP code, race and gender to share with communities so they can address issues with the data.

“Our goal is not to make some people and some places boast or other people and other places be afraid,” said Sandi Pruitt, assistant professor of population and data services for UT Southwestern in Dallas.

It’s “to be able to give Texans access to information about the health of their communities.”

Researchers relied on death records for 2005-2014 to determine mortality rates.

They found the shortest life expectancy in Fort Worth.

In Texas, the overall life expectancy is 78.5 years, 81.1 for women and 75.9 for men. In Tarrant County, the life expectancy is 78.7 years, 81 for women and 76.4 for men.

“This study sheds important new light on the issue of health disparities,” said Dr. David Lakey, vice chancellor for health affairs for The University of Texas System. “Overall disparities by gender or racial groups are significant, but to truly impact health we need to understand where the disparities are most severe, and to recognize that there is immense geographic variation even within groups.”

Other findings from the study:

Life expectancy in Texas varied by as much as 30 years between ZIP codes, according to the study.

Women’s overall life expectancy was 5.2 years longer than men’s.

Hispanic, black and white women had longer life expectancies than their male counterparts.

Hispanic life expectancy was three years longer than white expectancy and 5.9 years longer than black life expectancy.

Life expectancy is associated with poverty. People living in ZIP codes where less than 5 percent of the residents are poor lived an average of 82.4 years, while people living in ZIP codes where more than 20 percent of the people are poor lived an average of 76.4 years.

The 76104

The 76104 lies south of Interstate 30 and north of Berry Street. It is generally bounded to the west by Forest Park Boulevard and to the east by Cobb Park Drive.

It includes Fort Worth’s hospital district, several nursing homes and a number of schools, including Trimble Tech High School, De Zavala Elementary and Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary.

In the 76104, the life expectancy is 66.7 — 70 years old for women and 63.7 for men.

“Obviously it’s super concerning,” said Mike Drivdahl, a spokesman for the Fort Worth Fire Department.

Drivdahl noted that the life expectancy rate in the ZIP code could be low because the area includes the Medical District.

Not only that, but that area is one that first responders most frequently are called to in the city, Drivdahl said.

“We do run a lot of (cardiac arrest calls) ... in that area,” he said. “They’ve either stopped breathing or their heart has stopped. We start our CPR.

“Some we are able to bring back to life and some we aren’t.”

Infant mortality also is a concern, which is why Drivdahl said firefighters have been trained to educate new parents on how to keep their babies safe while they sleep. Advice they share includes keeping stuffed animals and blankets out of cribs with newborns.

Pruitt said the county’s high infant mortality rates would be reflected in the data used in their modeling.

Nearly 17,500 people lived in the 76104 zip code as of 2010, according to the U.S. Census.

In that ZIP code, more than 40 percent of residents are below the poverty level and the average age is 30.9.

The population in the district is made up of about 7,400 black residents, nearly 7,100 white residents, more than 3,100 people who identified as “some other race” and about 360 Asian residents, according to the U.S. Census.

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Diane Smith, a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 1997. Smith, who has covered municipal government, immigration and education, has won multiple awards for reporting, most recently as part of a Star-Telegram team recognized by the Headliners Foundation of Texas for coverage of child abuse and Fort Worth’s Las Vegas Trail area.
Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.