Special Report

Cities With the Shortest Life Expectancy in Every State

46. Virginia
> Metro area:
> Life expectancy: 77.1 years
> Obesity rate: 30.7%
> Poverty rate: 14.3%

The average Virginian is expected to live for 78.5 years, the same life expectancy as the average American. In Roanoke, however, life expectancy is just 77.1 years, the shortest of the state’s nine metro areas. Like most cities with lower life expectancies, the Roanoke metro area has a relatively high obesity rate. At 30.7%, the share of Roanoke adults considered obese is higher than the 27.0% national obesity rate. Lower life expectancy often coincides with lower income, and Roanoke is no exception. The typical Roanoke household makes $51,318 a year, about $14,000 less than the $64,902 median household income statewide.

47. Washington
> Metro area:
> Life expectancy: 77.2 years
> Obesity rate: 34.6%
> Poverty rate: 22.5%

The Longview metro area’s life expectancy is just 77.2 years, the shortest among Washington’s 11 urban areas, and less than the national life expectancy of 78.5 years. As in most cities with the lowest life expectancies, Longview metro area residents are more likely than most Americans to be obese, physically inactive, and smoke. The obesity rate in Longview is 34.6%, significantly higher than the 27.0% national obesity rate. Poverty, which often coincides with lower life expectancy, is widespread in Longview. While 13.2% of Washington residents live below the poverty line, 22.5% of Longview residents do — the highest poverty rate in the state.

48. West Virginia
> Metro area:
> Life expectancy: 73.4 years
> Obesity rate: 34.5%
> Poverty rate: 17.4%

The Beckley metro area’s life expectancy is just 73.4 years, the lowest in West Virginia and almost five years shorter than the national life expectancy. Residents of only one other metro area in the country — Gadsden, Alabama — are expected to have shorter lifespans on average. Low life expectancy is likely due to unhealthy behavior among Beckley adults. Just 64.0% of the Beckley population exercises regularly, the smallest share of any U.S. metro area. People in the city are also both among the most likely Americans to smoke and be obese. Unhealthy behavior often coincides with low income. The typical Beckley household makes $39,498 a year, the lowest median household income in the state.

49. Wisconsin
> Metro area:
> Life expectancy: 78.5 years
> Obesity rate: 33.6%
> Poverty rate: 15.6%

Although Janesville-Beloit metro area’s 78.5 year life expectancy is the same as the national life expectancy, it is still the shortest of Wisconsin’s 12 metro areas. By many measures of general health, Janesville-Beloit residents exhibit the least healthy behavior of any urban area in Wisconsin. In the Janesville-Beloit metro, 33.6% of adults are obese and 23.3% smoke — both the highest such rates in the state. Poverty is a major factor contributing to obesity and to poorer health overall, and Janesville-Beloit metro area residents are quite poor. Nearly 15.6% of the city’s population lives in poverty, the highest poverty rate of any metro area in Wisconsin.

50. Wyoming
> Metro area:
> Life expectancy: 77.0 years
> Obesity rate: 27.1%
> Poverty rate: 9.3%

By many measures of general health, Casper residents are the least healthy in an otherwise healthy state. Casper metro area residents are generally more likely than most Americans to be smokers, obese, and physically inactive. Additionally, just 86.3% of Casper adults have health insurance, the lowest insurance coverage among Wyoming’s two metro areas. Perhaps as a result, Casper residents are expected to celebrate just 77 birthdays in their lifetimes, the shortest among Wyoming’s two urban areas, and one of the lower life expectancies in the nation.

Click here to see the cities with the longest life expectancy in every state.

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