Health Officials: Average Life Expectancy Rises in Massachusetts

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Eric Wolfinger

Massachusetts health officials say the life expectancy of Bay State residents has risen to 80 years and 8 months.

The increase in longevity breaks with the national trend, showing a decline in how long people are expected to live, according to officials.

In a Massachusetts Deaths 2016 report released Wednesday by the Department of Public Health, authorities said since 2006, life expectancy in the state has remained close to 80 years, reaching 80 years and 11 months at its highest in 2012-2013. The report said life expectancy for residents was 80 years and 5 months in 2015.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the near-universal health care coverage in Massachusetts promotes good living, making the Bay State one of the healthiest in the nation.

"This report shows that working together at both the state and municipal level, and with our health care partners, we can improve the health and well-being of all Massachusetts residents," said Sudders. "As people live longer, we must continue taking steps to position the Commonwealth as an age-friendly state, which is why we created the Governor’s Council to Address Aging."

The leading cause of death for Massachusetts residents in 2016 was cancer, with lung cancer remaining the leading cause of all cancer deaths.

While life expectancy overall in Massachusetts improved in 2016, it went down nationally last year for the second time in three years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decline was said to be largely driven by drug overdose deaths and suicide.

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