These states have the worst, best life expectancy, new federal report finds

(NEXSTAR) – A report released Thursday found life expectancy in the U.S. can vary wildly based on which state you were born in. The data, analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics, found Hawaii residents had the highest life expectancy at birth at 80.9 years, while Mississippi was lowest at 74.4 years.

California ranks just behind Hawaii, also with a life expectancy of 80.9. Seven other states have life expectancies above 80 years old: New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington and Colorado.

At the bottom of the list are a group of states with life expectancies around 74 and 75 years old. In order, starting with the lowest, is Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

In the map below, states shaded in dark green have the highest life expectancies. Pale blue represents the lowest.

A map shows life expectancy at birth by state. (National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality)

Across the board, life expectancy was longer for women in every state – but it varied by how much longer. For example, women live about 3.5 years longer than men in Utah, but 6.4 years longer than men in Mississippi.

Hawaii, which ranked highest overall, also saw a big gap between expected outcomes for men and women. Men born in the Aloha State were expected to die nearly six years earlier than their female counterparts. New Mexico, Alabama, and Delaware also saw big gaps.

The states with the most parity between men and women were Utah, Idaho, Alaska, Washington and Nebraska.

While the report was released Thursday, it uses data collected in 2019, and therefore does not reflect any changes in life expectancy that may have occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. The Hill reports more recent data showed a sustained drop in Americans’ life expectancy for the first time since the Spanish Flu over a century ago.

You can see the full report by the National Center for Health Statistics here.


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