Special Report

The City With the Longest Life Expectancy in Every State

Life expectancy is one of the most important and commonly cited indicators of population health — and in the United States, life expectancy is falling at a historic rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth declined by 1.5 years in 2020, the largest one-year drop since World War II. 

The CDC attributes the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic and 93,000 drug overdose deaths — an all-time one-year high. Homicide, diabetes, and liver disease were also contributing factors. Here is a look at the states with the most drug overdose deaths in 2020

While the national trend is alarming, there are parts of the country where life expectancy is far higher than the national average. Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro area with the longest life expectancy at birth in every state. Four states — Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont — have only one metro area. As a result, these areas rank as having the longest average life expectancy in the state by default only. 

It is important to note that life expectancy figures are averages for the years 2017 through 2019 — the most recent period for which metro-level data is available — so they are pre-pandemic. 

Though each metro area on this list has the longest life expectancy at birth in its state, average life expectancies vary considerably — from as low as 76.5 years up to over 86. The comparable national average life expectancy stands at 79.2 years. 

Variations in life expectancy are tied to a number of factors. Tobacco use, for example, is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and in the majority of metro areas on this list, the share of adults who smoke is below the corresponding statewide average. Here is a look at the American cities where the most people smoke.

Click here to see the metro area with the longest life expectancy in every state
Click here to read our detailed methodology