A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked all 50 states and Washington, D.C., by life expectancy in 2019. Hawaii had the highest life expectancy at 80.9 years, while Mississippi had the lowest at 74.4 years.
California, New York, Minnesota and Massachusetts rounded out the top five with life expectancies slightly over 80 years. Overall, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 78.8 years.
Reasons for lower life expectancies were not given in the report. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Mississippi had the highest rate of poverty in 2019, with 19.6% of people in the state living below the poverty line. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there is a link between income and life expectancy.
The states with lower life expectancies tended to be in the South, and the five states with the lowest life expectancy before Mississippi also had high poverty levels in 2019: West Virginia had 16% of people living below the poverty level, Alabama had 15.5%, Kentucky had 16.3%, Tennessee had 13.9% and Arkansas had 16.2%.
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Hawaii had 9.3% of people living below the poverty line.
The life expectancy in all states could possibly be lower now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, death rates rose 17 percent.
The life expectancy report, published Feb. 10, was created by using mortality statistics, population estimates and Medicare data for people 66 to 99 years old.
Here is the complete list from the 2019 report by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics:
- New York
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- West Virginia