Special Report

US Metro Areas With the Shortest Life Expectancy


To determine the metro areas with the shortest life expectancy, 24/7 Tempo reviewed life expectancy — the average number of years a person can expect to live — data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. While the CHR report is from 2021, life expectancy data published in the report are from 2017-2019. 

We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros. 

Metros were ranked based on life expectancy. Additional information on the share of adults reporting poor or fair health, the share of adults 20 years and older who report a body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher (adult obesity rate), and the share of adults who are current smokers are also from the 2021 CHR. The share of the civilian noninstitutionalized population without health insurance, median household income, and poverty rates are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.