According to new data released by Life Extension, Hawaii has the highest life expectancy rate in the United States, with an average rate of 80.7 years. On the other hand, West Virginia has the lowest rate, with an average life expectancy of 72.8 years.
The factors that contribute to the rankings are complex and multifaceted and include socioeconomic, behavioral and environmental conditions. People living in areas with higher poverty rates with less access to healthcare tend to have lower life expectancies. Exposure to pollution and toxins can also negatively impact health.
While Hawaii holds the top spot, the other states in the top five include Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and New Hampshire. These states seem to have more of a focus on being outdoors and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Conversely, the states that have the lowest expectancy beside West Virginia include Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Kentucky. In these states, the lower rates can be contributed to behavioral factors like high anxiety and lack of healthy habits like exercise and sleep.
Those healthy habits, or lack thereof, aren’t always indicators of longevity. For instance, in Washington, D.C., healthy lifestyle choices scored a 6 (which is good), but residents have a life expectancy of 75.3 years, ranking 23rd in expectancy. Comparatively, Florida scored a 22 for health, but ranked 19th in life expectancy.
It’s important to note that life expectancy rates also vary within states. Certain regions or communities have higher or lower life expectancies than others. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is the fact that the best states for living a long life have active populations that spend a significant amount of time outdoors.