Americans born in southern states faced the lowest life expectancies in 2018, according to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The findings, published in the National Vital Statistics Reports on Thursday, offer a hypothetical “snapshot” of mortality estimates assuming populations will face the same conditions as they did in 2018. (It’s worth noting, however, that separate research has since estimated that the coronavirus pandemic inflicted a 1.22-year cut in the average U.S. life expectancy.)
Findings drew from state-specific deaths and population estimates from 2018, supplemented by data for Medicare beneficiaries for those 66 and up.
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Results tied West Virginia with the shortest average life expectancy nationwide at 74.4 years, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina and Missouri, ranging from 74.6 to 76.6 average life expectancies, respectively.
“States with the lowest life expectancy at birth are mostly southern states, and states with the highest life expectancy at birth are predominantly western and northeastern states,” study authors wrote in part.
With this, Hawaii ranked first for longest life expectancy at 81 years, followed by California, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, New Jersey and Rhode Island at around 80 projected years.
Females were projected to live longer than men, with the report noting a five-year difference in life expectancy between the sexes ranging from 6.2 years in New Mexico to a narrower 3.8-year difference in Utah.
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“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,” study authors wrote.
The report noted some limitations, namely “relatively large” standard errors “for some states with small populations, particularly at the youngest ages.” However, many deaths generally result in more precise probabilities, the authors wrote.