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States where people live the longest

States where people live the longest

The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years, with women generally having a longer life expectancy than men. Most gaps in life expectancy can be explained by the risk factors that people engage in. The disparity between men and women, for example, is because women tend to engage in less risky behavior than men, and suffer fewer vehicular accidents.

People living in the Southern United States are more likely to be smokers, which is a leading cause of death. A 2016 American Cancer Society study found that cigarettes contribute to one in four cancer deaths in the country. Most of the 10 states with the highest attributable cancer deaths were located in the South, which explains why many of the states with the lowest life expectancies can also be found across the region.

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state’s average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively. 

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in your state.

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#51. West Virginia

- Average life expectancy: 74.8
- Total seniors in the state: 367,400 (20.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #46
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.5% male, 54.5% female
--- Breakdown by race: 96% White, 2.7% Black or African American, 0.5% Hispanic or Latino, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

#50. Mississippi

- Average life expectancy: 74.9
- Total seniors in the state: 486,804 (16.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #50
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.4% male, 56.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 70.8% White, 27.5% Black or African American, 0.9% Hispanic or Latino, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#48. Alabama (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 75.4
- Total seniors in the state: 854,312 (17.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #44
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.7% male, 56.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 77.2% White, 20.1% Black or African American, 1.1% Hispanic or Latino, 1% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#48. Kentucky (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 75.4
- Total seniors in the state: 754,559 (16.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #49
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.3% male, 55.7% female
--- Breakdown by race: 92.1% White, 6.1% Black or African American, 1% Hispanic or Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#47. Arkansas

- Average life expectancy: 75.9
- Total seniors in the state: 524,237 (17.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #45
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.2
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.3% male, 55.7% female
--- Breakdown by race: 86.4% White, 10.7% Black or African American, 1.9% Hispanic or Latino, 0.8% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

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#45. Oklahoma (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 76
- Total seniors in the state: 635,222 (16.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #47
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.7% male, 55.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 84% White, 5.1% Black or African American, 2.8% Hispanic or Latino, 1.3% Asian, 5.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#45. Tennessee (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 76
- Total seniors in the state: 1.1 million (16.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #43
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 44% male, 56% female
--- Breakdown by race: 86.4% White, 11.3% Black or African American, 1.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

#44. Louisiana

- Average life expectancy: 76.1
- Total seniors in the state: 742,194 (16.0% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #48
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 44% male, 56% female
--- Breakdown by race: 71.9% White, 25.3% Black or African American, 2.8% Hispanic or Latino, 1% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#43. Ohio

- Average life expectancy: 76.9
- Total seniors in the state: 2.0 million (17.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #30
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 44% male, 56% female
--- Breakdown by race: 88.6% White, 9% Black or African American, 1.4% Hispanic or Latino, 1.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#41. Indiana (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 77
- Total seniors in the state: 1.1 million (16.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #36
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.1% male, 55.9% female
--- Breakdown by race: 91.1% White, 6.4% Black or African American, 2.1% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

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#41. South Carolina (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 77
- Total seniors in the state: 935,538 (18.2% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #34
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.4% male, 55.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 77.2% White, 20.6% Black or African American, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino, 1% Asian, 0.3% Native American or Alaska Native

#40. Missouri

- Average life expectancy: 77.3
- Total seniors in the state: 1.1 million (17.2% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #39
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.2
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.1% male, 55.9% female
--- Breakdown by race: 89.5% White, 8% Black or African American, 1.3% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#39. Georgia

- Average life expectancy: 77.8
- Total seniors in the state: 1.5 million (14.3% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #41
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.6
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.5% male, 56.5% female
--- Breakdown by race: 70.9% White, 24.5% Black or African American, 3% Hispanic or Latino, 2.9% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#37. Michigan (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78
- Total seniors in the state: 1.8 million (17.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #26
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.9% male, 55.1% female
--- Breakdown by race: 86.2% White, 10.3% Black or African American, 1.8% Hispanic or Latino, 1.8% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#37. North Carolina (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78
- Total seniors in the state: 1.8 million (16.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #37
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.7% male, 56.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 79.2% White, 17.2% Black or African American, 2.3% Hispanic or Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.8% Native American or Alaska Native

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#36. New Mexico

- Average life expectancy: 78.1
- Total seniors in the state: 377,730 (18.0% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #42
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.7% male, 54.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 84.1% White, 1.4% Black or African American, 33.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 6% Native American or Alaska Native

#35. Pennsylvania

- Average life expectancy: 78.3
- Total seniors in the state: 2.4 million (18.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #19
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.4
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.9% male, 56.1% female
--- Breakdown by race: 89.3% White, 7.2% Black or African American, 2.3% Hispanic or Latino, 2% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

#34. Delaware

- Average life expectancy: 78.4
- Total seniors in the state: 189,638 (19.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #15
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.9% male, 55.1% female
--- Breakdown by race: 81.4% White, 14.7% Black or African American, 3.1% Hispanic or Latino, 2.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#32. Kansas (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78.5
- Total seniors in the state: 477,996 (16.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #28
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.8% male, 55.2% female
--- Breakdown by race: 92% White, 4.1% Black or African American, 4.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.4% Asian, 0.6% Native American or Alaska Native

#32. Nevada (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78.5
- Total seniors in the state: 498,219 (16.2% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #38
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.6
--- Breakdown by sex: 47% male, 53% female
--- Breakdown by race: 77.2% White, 6.9% Black or African American, 11.6% Hispanic or Latino, 9.4% Asian, 1% Native American or Alaska Native

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#31. Washington D.C.

- Average life expectancy: 78.6
- Total seniors in the state: 87,537 (12.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: Not ranked
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 41.2% male, 58.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 37.8% White, 56.9% Black or African American, 5.6% Hispanic or Latino, 3.1% Asian, 0% Native American or Alaska Native

#30. Maine

- Average life expectancy: 78.7
- Total seniors in the state: 285,978 (21.3% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #8
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.5% male, 54.5% female
--- Breakdown by race: 97.7% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 0.7% Hispanic or Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#28. Alaska (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78.8
- Total seniors in the state: 90,588 (12.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #33
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 71.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 49.4% male, 50.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 78.1% White, 2.5% Black or African American, 2.9% Hispanic or Latino, 6% Asian, 10.5% Native American or Alaska Native

#28. Montana (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 78.8
- Total seniors in the state: 207,909 (19.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #27
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 47.7% male, 52.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 94.8% White, 0.1% Black or African American, 2% Hispanic or Latino, 0.5% Asian, 2.7% Native American or Alaska Native

#27. Wyoming

- Average life expectancy: 79
- Total seniors in the state: 98,789 (17.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #35
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.4
--- Breakdown by sex: 47.9% male, 52.1% female
--- Breakdown by race: 95% White, 0.3% Black or African American, 3.6% Hispanic or Latino, 0.6% Asian, 2% Native American or Alaska Native

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#24. Maryland (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.1
- Total seniors in the state: 959,887 (15.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #12
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.2% male, 56.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 66.7% White, 24.8% Black or African American, 3.6% Hispanic or Latino, 5.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#24. South Dakota (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.1
- Total seniors in the state: 153,799 (17.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #22
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73
--- Breakdown by sex: 46.4% male, 53.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 93.7% White, 0.7% Black or African American, 1.3% Hispanic or Latino, 0.4% Asian, 4.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#24. Texas (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.1
- Total seniors in the state: 3.7 million (12.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #40
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.6% male, 55.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 81.8% White, 9.5% Black or African American, 23.5% Hispanic or Latino, 4% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#22. Idaho (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.3
- Total seniors in the state: 288,617 (16.2% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #24
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 47.4% male, 52.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 96% White, 0.2% Black or African American, 3.9% Hispanic or Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.9% Native American or Alaska Native

#22. Illinois (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.3
- Total seniors in the state: 2.0 million (16.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #31
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.8% male, 56.2% female
--- Breakdown by race: 81.1% White, 11.8% Black or African American, 7.2% Hispanic or Latino, 4.6% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

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#20. Iowa (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.4
- Total seniors in the state: 553,575 (17.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #13
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.3
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.8% male, 55.2% female
--- Breakdown by race: 96.7% White, 1.4% Black or African American, 1.4% Hispanic or Latino, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#20. Wisconsin (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.4
- Total seniors in the state: 1.0 million (17.5% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #10
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 93.9% White, 3.2% Black or African American, 1.9% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.6% Native American or Alaska Native

#18. New Hampshire (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.5
- Total seniors in the state: 253,147 (18.6% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #6
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.4% male, 54.6% female
--- Breakdown by race: 97.5% White, 0.7% Black or African American, 1.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

#18. Virginia (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.5
- Total seniors in the state: 1.4 million (15.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #25
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.2% male, 55.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 77.1% White, 16.1% Black or African American, 3% Hispanic or Latino, 5.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American or Alaska Native

#17. Nebraska

- Average life expectancy: 79.6
- Total seniors in the state: 312,295 (16.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #23
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.3
--- Breakdown by sex: 45% male, 55% female
--- Breakdown by race: 94.8% White, 2.3% Black or African American, 3.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

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#16. Vermont

- Average life expectancy: 79.7
- Total seniors in the state: 125,201 (20.1% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #8
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 46.2% male, 53.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 97% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.7% Hispanic or Latino, 0.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#15. Oregon

- Average life expectancy: 79.8
- Total seniors in the state: 767,496 (18.2% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #19
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 92.6% White, 1% Black or African American, 3.6% Hispanic or Latino, 3% Asian, 0.8% Native American or Alaska Native

#11. Arizona (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.9
- Total seniors in the state: 1.3 million (18.0% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #31
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.3
--- Breakdown by sex: 46% male, 54% female
--- Breakdown by race: 89.7% White, 2.4% Black or African American, 13% Hispanic or Latino, 2.3% Asian, 2.4% Native American or Alaska Native

#11. North Dakota (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.9
- Total seniors in the state: 120,177 (15.8% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #18
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.9% male, 54.1% female
--- Breakdown by race: 95.8% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.8% Hispanic or Latino, 0.2% Asian, 2.9% Native American or Alaska Native

#11. Rhode Island (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.9
- Total seniors in the state: 187,155 (17.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #7
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.2
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.3% male, 56.7% female
--- Breakdown by race: 90.4% White, 3.7% Black or African American, 5.6% Hispanic or Latino, 1.8% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

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#11. Utah (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 79.9
- Total seniors in the state: 365,198 (11.4% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #2
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.8
--- Breakdown by sex: 46.8% male, 53.2% female
--- Breakdown by race: 94.3% White, 0.4% Black or African American, 6.2% Hispanic or Latino, 1.7% Asian, 0.6% Native American or Alaska Native

#10. Florida

- Average life expectancy: 80
- Total seniors in the state: 4.5 million (20.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #29
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.9
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.1% male, 54.9% female
--- Breakdown by race: 86.1% White, 9.2% Black or African American, 15.5% Hispanic or Latino, 2.1% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#8. New Jersey (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.4
- Total seniors in the state: 1.5 million (16.6% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #21
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.4
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.2% male, 56.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 78.6% White, 10.5% Black or African American, 10.6% Hispanic or Latino, 7.2% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

#8. Washington (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.4
- Total seniors in the state: 1.2 million (15.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #14
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.7
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 87.1% White, 2.2% Black or African American, 3.6% Hispanic or Latino, 6.9% Asian, 1% Native American or Alaska Native

#6. Colorado (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.5
- Total seniors in the state: 845,378 (14.7% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #5
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 72.4
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.7% male, 54.3% female
--- Breakdown by race: 90.9% White, 2.8% Black or African American, 10.8% Hispanic or Latino, 2.4% Asian, 0.9% Native American or Alaska Native

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#6. Massachusetts (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.5
- Total seniors in the state: 1.2 million (17.0% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #11
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.5% male, 56.5% female
--- Breakdown by race: 88.4% White, 5% Black or African American, 4.8% Hispanic or Latino, 3.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American or Alaska Native

#4. Connecticut (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.9
- Total seniors in the state: 629,032 (17.6% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #3
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.5
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.8% male, 56.2% female
--- Breakdown by race: 87.8% White, 6.8% Black or African American, 6.4% Hispanic or Latino, 2.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American or Alaska Native

#4. Minnesota (tie)

- Average life expectancy: 80.9
- Total seniors in the state: 921,491 (16.3% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #4
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.6% male, 54.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 93.9% White, 2.3% Black or African American, 1.1% Hispanic or Latino, 2.2% Asian, 0.6% Native American or Alaska Native

#3. New York

- Average life expectancy: 81.3
- Total seniors in the state: 3.3 million (16.9% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #16
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.4
--- Breakdown by sex: 43.1% male, 56.9% female
--- Breakdown by race: 74.1% White, 12.9% Black or African American, 11.5% Hispanic or Latino, 6.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American or Alaska Native

#2. California

- Average life expectancy: 81.6
- Total seniors in the state: 5.8 million (14.8% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #17
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.1
--- Breakdown by sex: 44.6% male, 55.4% female
--- Breakdown by race: 69.3% White, 5.3% Black or African American, 20.6% Hispanic or Latino, 16.1% Asian, 0.7% Native American or Alaska Native

#1. Hawaii

- Average life expectancy: 82.3
- Total seniors in the state: 269,470 (19.0% of state population)
- Health care for seniors rank: #1
- Senior demographics:
--- Median age: 73.5
--- Breakdown by sex: 45.2% male, 54.8% female
--- Breakdown by race: 28.1% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 3.4% Hispanic or Latino, 53.1% Asian, 0.1% Native American or Alaska Native

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