Special Report

States Where People Live Longest

7. Vermont
> Life expectancy: 80.5 years (tied-5th highest)
> Obesity rate: 24.7% (7th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.3% (13th lowest)

Few states have a higher rate of insurance coverage than Vermont, where only 7.2% of the population was uninsured in 2013. Vermont’s governor considered instituting single-payer health care, in which the government serves as the sole provider of coverage, but he abandoned the idea in the face of high costs. In addition to its commitment to high levels of coverage, the state residents are also among the most physically active — less than 19% of residents were not regularly active in 2013, among the lowest rates in the nation.

6. New York
> Life expectancy: 80.5 years (tied-5th highest)
> Obesity rate: 25.4% (9th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.0% (20th highest)

New York’s high life expectancy appears to the result of a number of factors. For one, the state’s smoking and obesity rates were substantially below national levels. So, too, were drug deaths. New York’s age-adjusted mortality rate was among the best in the nation, at just 652.1 deaths for every 100,000 people in 2012. The state spent nearly $150 dollars per person in health funding in 2012 and 2013, among the highest amounts in the nation.

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5. Massachusetts
> Life expectancy: 80.5 years (tied-5th highest)
> Obesity rate: 23.6% (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (11th lowest)

Just 3.7% of the Massachusetts population did not have health insurance in 2013, the lowest in the United States. The availability of health insurance may play a role in lowering mortality rates in the state. Massachusetts also had the highest concentration of general practitioners and dentists of any state, with 200.8 generalists and 85.6 dentists for every 100,000 people. As of 2012, Massachusetts led the nation with the fewest years of life lost due to premature death — deaths occurring at ages under 75.