Tue, Dec 28, 2021 4:02 AM
By Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square, The Center Square
Life expectancy is one of the most important and commonly cited indicators of population health -- and in the United States, life expectancy is falling at a historic rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth declined by 1.5 years in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II.
The CDC attributes the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic and 93,000 drug overdose deaths -- an all-time one-year high. Homicide, diabetes, and liver disease were also contributing factors. Here is a look at the states with the most drug overdose deaths in 2020.
While the national trend is alarming, there are considerable regional variations in life expectancy across the country.
As of 2019, the most recent available year of state-level data, life expectancy at birth in Hawaii is 82.3 years, the highest among states and well above the comparable national average of 79.2 years.
Both at an individual and population level, life expectancy is closely linked to certain economic factors. For example, lower-income Americans are less able to afford adequate health care or a range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle. Recent studies have shown that life expectancy among the wealthiest 1% of Americans exceeds that of the poorest 1% by well over a decade. This general pattern holds in Hawaii, where the typical household earns $83,102 a year, far more than the national median household income of $65,712.
Data on average life expectancy at birth is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program's 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. Additional data is from both CHR and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey.
RankStateLife expectancy at birth (yrs.)Adults who smoke (%)Median household income ($)Poverty rate (%)1Hawaii82.314.483,1029.32California81.711.580,44011.83New York81.413.072,10813.04Connecticut80.912.578,83310.04Minnesota80.915.574,5939.06Massachusetts80.613.785,8439.46Colorado80.614.777,1279.38New Jersey80.513.285,7519.29Washington80.412.178,6879.810Florida80.214.959,22712.711Utah80.19.175,7808.912Arizona80.014.562,05513.513Oregon79.915.767,05811.414Rhode Island79.815.271,16910.814Vermont79.814.763,00110.216North Dakota79.719.764,57710.616New Hampshire79.716.677,9337.318Nebraska79.616.663,2299.918Virginia79.615.176,4569.920Wisconsin79.517.264,16810.421Illinois79.415.969,18711.521Idaho79.415.060,99911.221Iowa79.417.461,69111.224Texas79.214.264,03413.624Maryland79.212.686,7389.026Alaska79.018.575,46310.127Montana78.918.957,15312.627South Dakota78.920.259,53311.927Wyoming78.919.265,00310.130Nevada78.715.763,27612.530Maine78.719.458,92410.932Pennsylvania78.517.963,46312.032Kansas78.517.962,08711.432Delaware78.517.470,17611.335North Carolina78.117.957,34113.635Michigan78.120.159,58413.037New Mexico78.015.951,94518.238Georgia77.916.361,98013.339Missouri77.320.157,40912.940South Carolina77.118.756,22713.840Indiana77.121.757,60311.942Ohio77.021.458,64213.143Louisiana76.121.151,07319.043Arkansas76.123.748,95216.243Oklahoma76.119.954,44915.246Tennessee76.020.856,07113.947Kentucky75.624.152,29516.347Alabama75.620.051,73415.549Mississippi74.921.045,79219.650West Virginia74.826.948,85016.0