New Yorkers have the third-longest life expectancy in the US, while those born in the South have fewer years, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Overall, Americans are expected to live an average of 78.7 years, the report published Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the CDC, found.
The state with the lowest life expectancy was West Virginia, whose residents live an average of 74.4 years.
Rounding out the bottom 10 states were Mississippi (74.6), Alabama (75.1), Kentucky (75.3), Tennessee (75.5), Louisiana (75.6), Oklahoma (75.6), Arkansas (75.6), South Carolina (76.5) and Missouri (76.6).
Explaining the lower average life expectancy in the southern states, the researchers pointed to gender demographics.
“With a few exceptions, the states with the largest sex differences are those with lower life expectancy at birth, while the smallest sex differences are found mostly among states with higher life expectancy,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the National Vital Statistics Reports.
Women are more likely to outlive men by five years, the report said — with men averaging 76.2 years overall while women averaged 81.2 years.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hawaii fared the best – with an average life expectancy of 81 years – followed by California (80.8), New York (80.5), Minnesota (80.5), Connecticut (80.4), Massachusetts (80.1), Washington state (80), Colorado (80), New Jersey (79.8) and Rhode Island (79.8).
To determine the figures, researchers examined state-level mortality and population estimates from 2018, as well as related data for older Medicare beneficiaries, according to CNBC.
The agency’s report comes about a month after it published a provisional report that found life expectancy during the coronavirus pandemic declined by a year in the first half of 2020.
The study from February by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed the life expectancy at birth dropped to 77.8 years — the lowest since 2006.
Eileen Crimmins, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, cited the importance of life expectancy as an important data point.
“It’s basically an overall indicator of health — and it’s one of the best ones,” Crimmins, also the co-director of the USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health, told Yahoo Life.
Outside of demographics, there are many factors that may lead to better health in some states — including wealth, healthier diet, exercise and access to health care, she said.
“States that took Obamacare and took the federal government supplement to insure their uninsured populations, that played a role. New York was big on that, California was big on that,” Crimmins told the outlet.
“States that did not take that mandate tended to be in the South, [many of the] red states just didn’t take the money and so they still have large uninsured populations, which has an effect because people don’t go to the doctor,” she said.
Jennifer Ailshire, a researcher at the USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health, predicted that some states may move in the rankings as a result of the pandemic, but nothing major.
“Clearly COVID mortality will have an enormous impact on 2020 life expectancy, to a degree unprecedented since the last world war,” Ailshire told Yahoo Life.
“But the same factors that drive variability in health across U.S. states will determine state-to-state differences in the impact of COVID on their residents. So I suspect there may be a bit of movement in the rankings, but I would not anticipate any drastic reordering,” she added.