State Life Expectancy: Report Details Gains And Losses In Life Expectancy Around The Country

Which State Has The Highest Life Expectancy?

A new study is giving a glimpse at who's living the longest around the country, and the rate at which life expectancies are improving or declining county by county.

Women's life expectancies are improving at a slower rate than men's across the country, according to the research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

"It's tragic that in a country as wealthy as the United States and with all the medical expertise we have that so many girls will live shorter lives than their mothers," study researcher Dr. Ali Mokdad, head of the IHME county research team, said in a statement.

Between 1989 and 2009, the researchers found that men's life expectancy increased by an average of 4.6 years. But women's life expectancy only increased by an average of 2.7 years.

Now, in 2009, the county calculations showed that men's life expectancy ranges from 66.1 to 81.6 years and the women's life expectancy ranges from 73.5 to 86, according to the study.

The researchers also found that, for women, the divide between the counties with the highest life expectancies and those with lowest life expectancies is growing. In 1989, the gap used to be 8.7 years. But in 2009, the gap was 11.7 years -- 85.8 years on average for women in Collier county in Florida, and 74.1 years on average for women in McDowell county, West Virginia.

The gap between the longest and shortest life expectancies for men was 15.5 years in the study, but the researchers reported that the gap hasn't even grown by a year between 1989 and 2009. In Marin, Calif., the men's average life expectancy is 81.6, and in Quitman and Tunica, Miss., the average life expectancy for men is 66.1.

The study also shows that black Americans' life expectancies are improving much faster than those of white Americans. In 1989, the life expectancy for a black male was 63.8, compared to 72.5 for a white male. Fast-forward to 2009, where the life expectancy for a black male was 71.2 years, compared with 76.7 for a white male. For black women, the 2009 life expectancy was 77.9 years, compared to 81.5 years for white women.

On a county-wide level, La Paz county in Arizona had the worst improvement in life expectancy for males, with men actually living 1.5 years less on average in 2009 than they did in 1989. For women, Fayette county in Alabama had the worst improvement, with women living 1.9 years less on average in 2009 than they did in 1989.

The county with the best improvement in life expectancy, on the other hand, was New York, New York, with men living an average of 13.6 more years in 2009 than they did in 1989 and women living an average of 7.2 more years in 2009 than they did in 1989.

Many of the counties with the lowest life expectancies in the country are in Mississippi, according to the research.

For a full look at the life expectancy by county, take a look at the IHME's infographic here.

The IHME report also shows the average life expectancy per state for men and women, which was calculated as the average of the county life expectancies. Click through the slideshow check out the average life expectancy for males and females by state:


life expectancy by state

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the life expectancy of men and women in 2009. It has been fixed to show the life expectancy range in 2009 for men and women.

Go To Homepage