Life expectancy depends on many factors. Many people don’t realize how important where they live is in determining their life expectancy. A new research report presents the numbers by county in the U.S. The report has a lot of interesting details, not the least of which is that average life expectancy around the country varies by more than a decade.
But state snapshots smooth out more localized health trends, according to the study. In Kentucky, for example, average life expectancy increased from 72.9 to 76.3 years over the 35-year span the authors studied. But in the eastern part of the state, in the heart of Appalachia, life expectancy decreased. Babies born in eastern Kentucky, along the Mississippi Delta and on Native American reservations in the Dakotas have the lowest life expectancies in the country. If current health trends continue, they aren’t expected to live much beyond an average of 70 years. Meanwhile, a baby born along the wealthy coast of California can be expected to live as long as 85 years, the authors found.