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Closing the longevity gap requires new ways of thinking, seeing the complex web of factors that contribute to inequity, and identifying solutions to address those factors. To do this, we’ve convened experts from a wide variety of disciplines to help answer a powerful, yet simple question: 


How might we make longevity more equitable for all?


Join us, alongside our contributors, in understanding the challenge and taking action in closing the longevity gap.

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The Longevity Gap

   This past year has laid bare and accelerated longstanding inequities in our nation. We need to harness the energy of this moment and the movements it has sparked to lead people to bolder and braver action.

 

Headshot of Tawanna Black

Tawanna Black

Founder and CEO, Center for Economic Inclusion

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Headshot of Laura Carstensen

Laura Carstensen

Director, Stanford Center on Longevity

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Headshot of Abigail Disney

Abigail Disney

Founder, Daphne Foundation, Fork Films

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Headshot of Cheryl Dorsey

Cheryl Dorsey

President, Echoing Green

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Headshot of Helene Gayle

Helene Gayle, MD

President and CEO, Chicago Community Trust

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Headshot of Rishi Manchada

Rishi Manchanda, MD 

President and CEO, HealthBegins

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Headshot of Wes Moore

Wes Moore

Author and Former CEO, Robin Hood

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Headshot of Liz Ogbu

Liz Ogbu

Principal, Studio O

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Headshot of Brent Orrell

Brent Orrell

Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

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Headshot of James Johnson-Plett

James Johnson-Piett

Founder, Urbane Development

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Ari Wallach

Executive Director, Longpath

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Headshot of Shelley Zalis

Shelley Zalis

CEO, The Female Quotient

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There is no single driver of the longevity gap in the United States. It is fueled and maintained by an intersecting array of factors. In order to understand—and eventually close—the gap, we must look at it through a series of lenses.

Financial Prosperity

Recent events have reaffirmed the importance of economic security. In America, the type of job you work, and the amount of wealth you amass, has a distinct correlation to the number of years you will live.

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Place

Where you’re born, where you’re raised, and where you live has a profound effect on your longevity. In the United States, policies both past and present have created stark disparities across geographic lines.

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Social Connection

The strength and depth of your relationships have a huge impact on your day-to-day life—and they also affect your long-term health.

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Health

At the end of the day, your health is the most important driver of longevity. Anything that makes it harder for us to get healthy, stay healthy, or recover when we’re sick will inevitably widen the longevity gap.

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Race & Social Justice

Racism and discrimination drive and exacerbate many of the inequities we see in the United States. The longevity gap is no exception.

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Building equitable longevity in the United States requires bold and collective action.

Here are a series of provocations and strategies for closing the longevity gap that were generated by our conversations with thought leaders across a variety of topics and sectors.

Click the topics below to see ways to take action:

Creating pathways to wealth

What if we empowered people with more accessible ways to build wealth?

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Designing for those in the margins

What if we designed for and with people in the margins?

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Rethinking community investment

What if we reimagined how we invest in our communities?

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Distributing power to workers

What if workers were empowered to have more control over what they do and how they do it?

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Measuring outcomes not outputs

What if we measured success by outcomes rather than outputs?

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Collaborating across sectors

What if collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors were the norm?

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Taking the long view

What if we took the long view?

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Strengthening social bonds

What if we focused our attention on strengthening the bonds between us— across the street, across the country, and across generations?

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Prioritizing diversity, equity & inclusion

What if every organization treated DE&I as a mission-critical initiative?

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Suggested Citation:

AARP Thought Leadership. Building Equity in Longevity. Washington, DC: AARP Thought Leadership, May 2021.  https://doi.org/10.26419/int.00048.001

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