Late last year the National Center for Health Statistics reported that U.S. life expectancy fell for the second year in a row. Americans born in 2016 can expect to live 78.6 years. Life expectancy is one of the main measures of a population’s overall health, so the declines are concerning.
Still, life expectancy varies significantly across the United States. Different aspects, from socioeconomic factors to climate to culture and behaviors, can affect life expectancy in an area. And there are some parts of the country where the average resident can expect to live several years longer than the average American.
To determine the counties where people live the longest, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2014 county-level life expectancy at birth figures from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global research center affiliated with the University of Washington.
While nearly all states might have counties where life expectancy is longer than the national average, only about half of all states have at least one county where life expectancy is significantly longer.
The majority of the 50 counties with the highest life expectancy are located in healthy states like California, Minnesota, and New York. Colorado, which has one of the healthier populations, is home to 10 of the longest lived counties.
Still, in less healthy states, there are counties that are outliers. States like Michigan, Nevada, and New Mexico, where the average resident can expect to live a shorter life than the average American, are each home to one county where people live years longer than the average state resident and American.
Residents of counties with longer life expectancy tend to exhibit the kind of healthy behaviors that lead to longer lives. Relatively fewer adults in these counties smoke or are obese, and more tend to be physically active. Many of these counties also are quite affluent — one of the factors most clearly associated with good health.