Special Report

The States With the Shortest Life Expectancy

FatCamera / Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines life expectancy at birth as “the average number of years a group of infants would live if they were to experience throughout life the age-
specific death rates prevailing during a specified period.” It is based on data linked to the health of the nation, including death rates by age and estimates of the impact of trends into the future.

To determine the states with the longest and shortest life expectancies at birth, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. States were ranked based on life expectancy at birth as of 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available. Data on the percentage of obese adults (18 and older) – those who report a body mass index of 30 or greater – and the percentage of adults who smoke are from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, also for 2020. Supplemental data on median household income comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey one-year estimates.

Lower obesity and smoking rates and higher median income are factors in states with higher life expectancy rates, such as Hawaii, Washington, California, and Massachusetts. Conversely, higher obesity and smoking rates and lower median income correlate to lower life expectancy rates in the southern states of Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. Nine of the 10 states with the lowest life expectancy, in fact, are in the South. (These are the 15 leading causes of death in America.)

Click here to see the states with the longest and shortest life expectancy

It should be noted that since the CDC data cited here was collected for 202 , U.S. life expectancy dropped from 77 years to 76.4 years in 2021 – with the onset of COVID-19 contributing to about 74% of that decline – but according to one study appears to have rebounded to 77.48 in 2022. Nonetheless, the American Journal of Public Health recently reported that some 56 diverse countries on every continent now surpass U.S. life expectancy at birth. (Here’s how U.S. life expectancy compares to that in other wealthy nations.)

50. Hawaii
> Life expectancy at birth: 80.7 years
> Obesity rate: 25.0% (3rd lowest)
> Smoking rate: 12.2% (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $84,857 (6th highest)

[in-text-ad]

49. Washington
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.2 years
> Obesity rate: 28.0% (7th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 11.6% (6th lowest)
> Median household income: $84,247 (7th highest)

48. Minnesota
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years
> Obesity rate: 30.6% (18th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.3% (19th lowest)
> Median household income: $77,720 (13th highest)

47. California
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years
> Obesity rate: 30.2% (14th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 9.0% (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $84,907 (5th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

46. Massachusetts
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years
> Obesity rate: 24.5% (2nd lowest)
> Smoking rate: 11.4% (5th lowest)
> Median household income: $89,645 (2nd highest)

45. New Hampshire
> Life expectancy at birth: 79.0 years
> Obesity rate: 30.5% (15th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.7% (22nd lowest)
> Median household income: $88,465 (4th highest)

[in-text-ad]

44. Oregon
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years
> Obesity rate: 28.3% (10th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 13.6% (13th lowest)
> Median household income: $71,562 (18th highest)

43. Vermont
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years
> Obesity rate: 26.3% (4th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.4% (20th lowest)
> Median household income: $72,431 (16th highest)

42. Utah
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years
> Obesity rate: 29.3% (12th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 8.3% (the lowest)
> Median household income: $79,449 (11th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

41. Connecticut
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years
> Obesity rate: 29.5% (13th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 12.6% (10th lowest)
> Median household income: $83,771 (8th highest)

40. Idaho
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years
> Obesity rate: 31.3% (21st lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.2% (18th lowest)
> Median household income: $66,474 (24th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

39. Colorado
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.3 years
> Obesity rate: 24.2% (the lowest)
> Smoking rate: 12.6% (10th lowest)
> Median household income: $82,254 (9th highest)

38. Rhode Island
> Life expectancy at birth: 78.2 years
> Obesity rate: 30.6% (18th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.1% (17th lowest)
> Median household income: $74,008 (15th highest)

37. Maine
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.8 years
> Obesity rate: 31.3% (21st lowest)
> Smoking rate: 18.0% (16th highest)
> Median household income: $64,767 (19th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

36. Nebraska
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years
> Obesity rate: 34.0% (19th highest)
> Smoking rate: 14.5% (21st lowest)
> Median household income: $66,817 (24th highest)

35. New York
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years
> Obesity rate: 26.5% (5th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 12.3% (8th lowest)
> Median household income: $74,314 (14th highest)

[in-text-ad]

34. Wisconsin
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.7 years
> Obesity rate: 32.7% (23rd highest)
> Smoking rate: 16.1% (25th lowest)
> Median household income: $67,125 (22nd highest)

33. Virginia
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.6 years
> Obesity rate: 32.4% (25th highest)
> Smoking rate: 13.9% (15th lowest)
> Median household income: $80,963 (10th highest)

32. Florida
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
> Obesity rate: 28.3% (10th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 15.5% (23rd lowest)
> Median household income: $63,062 (15th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

31. Iowa
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
> Obesity rate: 37.2% (5th highest)
> Smoking rate: 16.8% (23rd highest)
> Median household income: $65,600 (21st lowest)

30. New Jersey
> Life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
> Obesity rate: 27.7% (6th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 11.1% (4th lowest)
> Median household income: $89,296 (3rd highest)

[in-text-ad]

29. North Dakota
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.9 years
> Obesity rate: 33.6% (20th highest)
> Smoking rate: 17.9% (18th highest)
> Median household income: $66,519 (25th lowest)

28. Illinois
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years
> Obesity rate: 32.5% (24th highest)
> Smoking rate: 12.8% (11th lowest)
> Median household income: $72,205 (17th highest)

27. Maryland
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years
> Obesity rate: 30.9% (19th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 11.1% (4th lowest)
> Median household income: $90,203 (the highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

26. Montana
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years
> Obesity rate: 28.9% (11th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 17.5% (19th highest)
> Median household income: $63,249 (16th lowest)

25. Pennsylvania
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.8 years
> Obesity rate: 31.6% (23rd lowest)
> Smoking rate: 16.7% (24th highest)
> Median household income: $68,957 (21st highest)

[in-text-ad]

24. Delaware
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.7 years
> Obesity rate: 36.2% (11th highest)
> Smoking rate: 15.8% (24th lowest)
> Median household income: $71,091 (19th highest)

23. South Dakota
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.7 years
> Obesity rate: 33.4% (22nd highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.0% (13th highest)
> Median household income: $66,143 (22nd lowest)

22. Alaska
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.6 years
> Obesity rate: 31.8% (25th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 18.0% (16th highest)
> Median household income: $77,845 (12th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

21. Texas
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.5 years
> Obesity rate: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Smoking rate: 13.3% (12th lowest)
> Median household income: $66,963 (23rd highest)

20. Kansas
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.4 years
> Obesity rate: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Smoking rate: 17.2% (20th highest)
> Median household income: $64,124 (18th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

19. Arizona
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.3 years
> Obesity rate: 31.5% (22nd lowest)
> Smoking rate: 13.7% (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $69,056 (20th highest)

18. Nevada
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.3 years
> Obesity rate: 28.1% (8th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 14.1% (17th lowest)
> Median household income: $66,274 (23rd lowest)

17. Wyoming
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.3 years
> Obesity rate: 30.6% (18th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 19.4% (10th highest)
> Median household income: $65,204 (20th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

16. North Carolina
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.1 years
> Obesity rate: 33.6% (20th highest)
> Smoking rate: 17.0% (21st highest)
> Median household income: $61,972 (12th lowest)

15. Michigan
> Life expectancy at birth: 76.0 years
> Obesity rate: 35.3% (16th highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.3% (11th highest)
> Median household income: $63,498 (17th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

14. Georgia
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.6 years
> Obesity rate: 34.3% (17th highest)
> Smoking rate: 16.3% (25th highest)
> Median household income: $66,559 (25th highest)

13. Ohio
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.3 years
> Obesity rate: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Smoking rate: 20.2% (5th highest)
> Median household income: $62,262 (13th lowest)

12. Missouri
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.1 years
> Obesity rate: 34.2% (18th highest)
> Smoking rate: 18.6% (15th highest)
> Median household income: $61,847 (11th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

11. Indiana
> Life expectancy at birth: 75.0 years
> Obesity rate: 37.2% (5th highest)
> Smoking rate: 20.2% (5th highest)
> Median household income: $62,743 (14th lowest)

10. South Carolina
> Life expectancy at birth: 74.8 years
> Obesity rate: 36.7% (10th highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.1% (12th highest)
> Median household income: $59,318 (9th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

9. New Mexico
> Life expectancy at birth: 74.5 years
> Obesity rate: 31.7% (24th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 16.9% (22nd highest)
> Median household income: $53,992 (6th lowest)

8. Oklahoma
> Life expectancy at birth: 74.1 years
> Obesity rate: 37.1% (8th highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.6% (8th highest)
> Median household income: $55,826 (8th lowest)

7. Arkansas
> Life expectancy at birth: 73.8 years
> Obesity rate: 37.2% (5th highest)
> Smoking rate: 21.6% (3rd highest)
> Median household income: $52,528 (4th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

6. Tennessee
> Life expectancy at birth: 73.8 years
> Obesity rate: 35.8% (12th highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.7% (7th highest)
> Median household income: $59,695 (10th lowest)

5. Kentucky
> Life expectancy at birth: 73.5 years
> Obesity rate: 37.0% (9th highest)
> Smoking rate: 22.2% (2nd highest)
> Median household income: $55,573 (7th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

4. Alabama
> Life expectancy at birth: 73.2 years
> Obesity rate: 39.3% (3rd highest)
> Smoking rate: 19.5% (9th highest)
> Median household income: $53,913 (5th lowest)

3. Louisiana
> Life expectancy at birth: 73.1 years
> Obesity rate: 38.3% (4th highest)
> Smoking rate: 18.9% (14th highest)
> Median household income: $52,087 (3rd lowest)

2. West Virginia
> Life expectancy at birth: 72.8 years
> Obesity rate: 39.6% (2nd highest)
> Smoking rate: 24.0% (the highest)
> Median household income: $51,248 (2nd lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

1. Mississippi
> Life expectancy at birth: 71.9 years
> Obesity rate: 39.9% (the highest)
> Smoking rate: 20.7% (4th highest)
> Median household income: $48,716 (the lowest)

Sponsored: Attention Savvy Investors: Speak to 3 Financial Experts – FREE

Ever wanted an extra set of eyes on an investment you’re considering? Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help guide you through the financial decisions you’re making. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.