Life expectancy is the statistical measure of the average time a person is expected to live. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global life expectancy as of 2016 was 72.0 years, 74.2 for females and 69.8 years for men. The average life expectancy at birth for the U.S. varies depending on the source. The latest figures are: 78.5 years, according to the OECD; 78.6 years, according to the CDC; 80.0 years, according to the CIA.
Factors Affecting Life Expectancy
In general, life expectancy is based on two major factors: genetics and lifestyle choices. These include, but are not limited to: gender, access to quality health care, hygine, obesity, diet and nutrition, exercise, and crime rates. Overall, you can expect to see the highest life expectancies in the healthiest states. Additionally, women tend to live longer than men. American men expect to live an average of 76.1 years, while women expect to live an average of 81.1 years, a five-year difference.
Life Expectancy by State
Because the above factors vary greatly by state, so do life expectancies. On average, Hawaii residents live longer than residents in any other state, about 81.5 years, while Mississippi residents live the shortest lives at 74.6 years. This is a difference of 6.9 years. In general, the South has lower life expectancies than other parts of the country.
States with the Highest Life Expectancies
The ten states with the longest life expectancies, in order, are: Hawaii (81.5), California (80.8), Minnesota (80.8), New York (80.7), Connecticut (80.6), New Jersey (80.4), Colorado (80.0), Washington (80.0), Massachusetts (79.0), and Vermont (79.0). Hawaii has the longest life expectancy in the United States at 81.5 years. Women in Hawaii are the longest-living Americans at 84.3 years. If Hawaii were a country, it would have the 21st-highest longevity globally. Physical activity is high in the state, and its 25% obesity rate is the third-lowest nationwide. Low obesity rates are common in this list, with eight of the ten states having obesity rates at 28.3% or lower. Colorado has the lowest at 23.8%.
States with the Lowest Life Expectancies
The ten states with the lowest life expectancies, in order, are: Mississippi (74.6), West Virginia (74.9), Alabama (74.9), Kentucky (75.1), Arkansas (75.4), Oklahoma (75.5), Louisiana (75.5), Tennessee (76.1), South Carolina (76.2), and Ohio (76.6). Mississippi's longevity is the lowest in the United States at 74.6 years. Mississippi men live the shortest lives on average of 71.4 years. Mississippi is the most obese state, with 40.8% of adults being obese. Unsurprisingly, nine of the ten most obese states are also on the list of the ten states with the shortest life spans. In general, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are considered the least-healthy states, with high rates of obesity, excessive drinking, cancer, and heart disease, and low-quality health care.