Longevity – Which States Lead in Life Expectancy?

If you want to live the longest life, you’d do well to move to the Aloha State. Residents of Hawaii have a longer life expectancy than any other American state, according to a recent study conducted by the Harvard University Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard School of Public Health. On the other end of the scale, you could expect to live eight fewer years if you lived in the District of Columbia.

The study concluded that Hawaii’s number one ranking was partly due to its small size and population. The average Hawaiian resident can expect to live 80 years, and Hawaiian women live even longer “more than in any other state, in fact” averaging 83.2 years.

Mild Climate Not a Factor in Longevity

In case you’re getting ahead of the statistics and have decided that a mild climate is the major factor in longevity, you’ll be surprised to learn that the number two state, when it comes to life expectancy, was Minnesota, where the average person can expect to live 78.2 years. In fact, white citizens of the Midwest as a whole, which also includes North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, all have life expectancies that are higher than 98% of the rest of the white population in America–76.2 years for men and 81.8 for women.

However, the Midwest didn’t have a lock on longevity, because the study found that Utah ranked third, at 78.7 years. Morgan and Summit Counties led the way, each averaging 80.8 years.

Southern States

Residents of the South don’t fare nearly as well, since the study found that the bottom four states were all located below the Mason-Dixon Line. Washington, D.C. ranked 51st, with its citizens averaging only 72 years of life. Next-to-last on the list was Mississippi, making it the lowest of the fifty states in life expectancy, at 73.6 years. Coahoma County, Mississippi, ranked eleventh from the bottom in the entire United States with an average of only 70.1. With an average life expectancy of 74.2 years, Louisiana ranked up third from the bottom, followed by Alabama (74.4) and South Carolina (74.8).

In a somewhat surprising conclusion after looking at all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia, researchers discovered that American life expectancy is influenced less than might be expected by such things as personal income, inadequate health insurance, or violence and more by factors such as chronic disease or injury.