States Where People Live the Longest

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10. New Hampshire
> Life expectancy at birth in 2015: 79.9 years
> Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 74.9 years (12th highest)
> 1980-2015 life expectancy change: 5.0 years (21st largest)

Life expectancy in New Hampshire has continued to be among the highest over the years. Two reasons may help explain the consistent relatively high expectancy: relatively high educational attainment and low poverty, both of which have been linked to better overall health and longer life expectancy. No other state has a lower poverty rate, and only one has a lower share of households with an annual income of $10,000 or less. The Granite State has the eighth highest share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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9. Washington
> Life expectancy at birth in 2015: 80.2 years
> Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 75.1 years (10th highest)
> 1980-2015 life expectancy change: 5.1 years (17th largest)

Washington state has had among the longer life expectancies of all states over the last four decades. One possible reason may be the high share of the population who engage in physical activity. Only 17.1% do not exercise, the third lowest percentage, compared to 23.0% nationwide. The Evergreen State is also among those with the highest concentration of primary care doctors, dentists, and health care providers per 100,000 residents.

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8. Colorado
> Life expectancy at birth in 2015: 80.2 years
> Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 75.2 years (8th highest)
> 1980-2015 life expectancy change: 5.0 years (19th largest)

Colorado’s average life expectancy at birth has remained eighth highest since 1980. The Centennial State has the lowest adult obesity rate in the country. In terms of overall health measures, Colorado has among the lowest shares of obesity, cancer deaths, and children living in poverty.

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7. New Jersey
> Life expectancy at birth in 2015: 80.2 years
> Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 73.5 years (22nd lowest)
> 1980-2015 life expectancy change: 6.7 years (2nd largest)

New Jersey’s life expectancy at birth has significantly improved over the last four decades, more so than other states. As a result, its ranking improved from having the 22nd lowest life expectancy in 1980 to seventh highest in 2015. The Garden States has among the highest education attainment rates and household incomes of all states, and among the lowest poverty rates. These factors may have contributed to the state’s 6.7 year increase in life expectancy, the second largest of all states.

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6. Massachusetts
> Life expectancy at birth in 2015: 80.4 years
> Life expectancy at birth in 1980: 74.7 years (16th highest)
> 1980-2015 life expectancy change: 5.7 years (9th largest)

Massachusetts has significantly improved its standing when it comes to life expectancy, jumping 10 spots since 1980. One factor that may help explain this jump is health insurance coverage. No state has a lower share of uninsured residents. Other contributing factors may be the state’s fourth lowest adult obesity rate. In addition, the Bay State has the highest concentration of mental health providers and dentists per capita, and the third highest concentration of primary care physicians.