AARP Eye Center
Thanks to medical and technological advances, people are living longer. Just how much longer depends in part on what state you reside in.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, before the pandemic hit U.S. shores, the life expectancy for men stood at 76.3 years, and 81.4 years for women. The coronavirus has since changed that, with the average life expectancy in the U.S. falling by close to two years. While not every state is seeing life expectancies decline, some states were experiencing a tough time before the pandemic. As a result, the CDC found life expectancy has a direct correlation to where you live.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
Aiming to provide life tables for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia by sex and age-specific deaths prior to the pandemic, the CDC looked at final mortality statistics, population estimates and Medicare data from 2019. From there it was able to calculate the average life expectancy for each of the 50 states in that year. With that in mind, here’s a look at the 10 states with the lowest life expectancies at birth.
Ten states with the lowest life expectancies
Among the 50 states, Mississippi has the worst average life expectancy in the country. People residing in the Hospitality State are living on average to an age of 74.4. Males are faring worse, with a life expectancy of 71.2 years as of 2019. Females’ life expectancy stood at 77.6 years. To put this in perspective, residents in Hawaii, number one for life expectancy as of 2019, live to an average age of 80.9.
Coming in second for the lowest life expectancy is West Virginia, where people live on average to the age of 74.5. Males are living to an average age of 71.9, while females survive to an average age of 77.3. Rounding out the bottom three is Alabama, with an overall average life expectancy of 75.2 years.
Fourth-place Kentucky has an average life span of 75.5 years, while people in fifth-place Tennessee are living to an average age of 75.6. Men in Kentucky live to an average age of 72.9, while a woman’s life span hovers around 78 years. Tennessee males are living to an average age of 72.8, while females are lasting to age 78.5 on average.
Arkansas, which has the sixth-lowest life expectancy in the country, has an average life span of 75.7 years for all residents. For males it is worse, standing at 73. For women in the Natural State, it’s 78.4. Oklahoma, known for football and chicken-fried steak, also has an average life expectancy of 75.7 years.
Louisiana, with an average life expectancy of 75.7 years, South Carolina, with an average life span of 76.8 years for its residents, and Ohio, where people live to an average age of 76.9, complete the 10 worst states for life expectancy.