Life expectancy in the U.S. was beginning to stabilize after declining for several years. An American born in 2020 had an average life expectancy of 78.6 years, slightly lower than in 2018 but an improvement compared to the annual declines in 2017, 2016, and 2015. But the coronavirus pandemic appears to have shortened the average life expectancy by 1.13 years, according to research by the University of Southern California and Princeton University.
That is the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in the past 40 years, dropping the U.S. life expectancy to 77.48 years — the lowest since 2003.
To highlight how life expectancy trends vary across the United States, 24/7 Tempo listed the city in every state with the longest average life expectancy at birth in 2018, using data on life expectancy in U.S. metropolitan areas from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University Of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The association between wealth and longevity is well established. Wealthier people have access to higher quality medical care, experience less financial-related stress, and tend to be healthier. The cities on this list tend to have higher household incomes than the statewide average.
Another common trend among the cities with the longest life expectancy in their state is the tendency to report healthier outcomes than the state average. For example, obesity is associated with higher risk of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. And adult obesity rates in the majority of cities with the longest life expectancy in their state are lower than the state and national adult obesity rates. Click here for the most obese city in every state.
Similarly, smoking rates in the metro areas on this list are almost always lower than the state and national adult smoking rates.
While every city on this list has the longest life expectancy in its state, the city’s life expectancy is not necessarily longer than the national life expectancy. For example, because life expectancy is the lowest in West Virginia, even in Morgantown — the metro area with the longest life expectancy in the state — residents are expected to live shorter lives than the typical American. Click here for the 40 American cities where people live the longest.