The US State That Has The Highest Life Expectancy

While many nutritional supplements or alternative therapies might promise a longer life, longevity depends on many factors. A 2023 article in The Lancet says you can look to your family to estimate how long you live, and certain genes combined with your environment factor into your likelihood of developing certain health conditions. Lifestyle also plays a role in how long you live, such as whether or not you consume alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. A healthy diet that limits unhealthy fats, refined sugar, and artificial ingredients can influence your health. Physical, intellectual, and social activity are also included in your longevity.

Your life expectancy can also depend on where you live, according to a 2022 report from the National Center for Vital Statistics. Based on the mortality statistics for 2020, people who live in Hawaii have a life expectancy of 80.7, compared to the national average of 77. Women in Hawaii are expected to live longer (to age 83.8) compared to men in Hawaii (whose life expectancy is 77.6). Residents of Hawaii who have already reached age 65 can expect to live another 21 years.

Why residents of Hawaii might live longer

A 2023 analysis conducted by Ozmosi found that Hawaii has some of the healthiest residents. The study took data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that considered factors such as air quality, prevalence of obesity, chronic disease, and physical activity. Hawaii's air quality, a lower percentage of inactive people, and a lower obesity rate contributed to its top rating. Hawaii has a mental health program called "Hawaii Cares," which could point to its lower levels of depression compared to other states. Just 5.35% of people who live in Hawaii have cancer, and less than 5% have coronary heart disease.

Sociologists tell The Hill that Hawaii's warm climate makes it easier to get outside and exercise. It also has a smaller variation in hours of daylight between the winter and summer solstices, which means more sunshine and healthy vitamin D. Hawaii also has a low percentage of residents who are uninsured because it mandates health insurance for employees who work 20 hours or more a week.

A big difference in life expectancy between states

Life expectancy provides a good snapshot of a state's quality of life, such as its health habits, health risks, positive community development, and economic resources (per the University of Texas at Austin). You can compare Hawaii's life expectancy to countries such as Sweden, Iceland, and Canada. The United States has a large discrepancy among states in terms of life expectancy, with an 8.8-year difference between Hawaii and the lowest life expectancy in Mississippi. States in the Deep South have lower life expectancies than those in the Northeast and West Coast. This is partially due to the shift in policies from the federal government to the state government.

A 2020 article in Milbank Quarterly said that states with more liberal policies tend to have longer life expectancies. These policies include how the state approaches tobacco use, civil rights, the environment, gun control, and women's reproductive health.

Access to healthcare for underserved populations is often cited as the chief reason for poor health outcomes. However, a 2019 article in the Annals of Family Medicine said that access to healthcare can only explain about 10% of premature deaths or unhealthy outcomes. Instead, life expectancy might depend on other factors, such as health behaviors and social circumstances. Unhealthy behaviors include smoking, an unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise.