R. D. Ward/Department of Defense

Let’s hope your state fares well

Quick notes

• Hawaiians will outlive the rest of the country

• Mississippi is crumbling with poverty and obesity

• West Virginia is not much better

As the land of opportunity, the United States has plenty to offer. There’s fantastic colleges, well-paying jobs, and the occasional Florida Man situation. No matter what career you want, there’s a way to make it happen. With over 329 million people inhabiting the country, there’s some competition. You’re going to fight a bit harder to grab the top job in your field. In the end, many people can’t find themselves living anywhere except for America.

As expected, no two states are the same. Aside from jobs and population, there’s also the issue of life expectancy. This showcases how long an average resident can live in a state. Many variables play a part in one’s survival in a specific area, including poverty and money. While most people don’t think about it, some researchers are enthralled with these statistics. We look at states with the best and worst life expectancies around.

As high as the sky

When you think of states with high life expectancy, many don’t think of Hawaii. Well, this state has the highest life expectancy in the country, with 81.3 years. One major factor for such a high number involves its top-notch hospitals. Folks don’t have to blow their money on a bad time at Beth Israel. Hawaii is the only state in the country with near-universal health insurance for employees. The state also has the second-lowest obesity rate in the entire country. With the lack of fast-food spots in the region, people have more time to eat healthier.


California is right behind Hawaii with a life expectancy of 80.9 years. In 1980, the state’s life expectancy of 74.3 years was worrisome. Because of healthier living, the state has made the most significant improvement. Another reason for California’s rise is the increase in pay. This, however, comes with an increase in rent.

Other states with high expectancy include New Hampshire (79.9 years), Wisconsin (79.5 years), and Maryland (79.2 years). While Maryland is high, the state deals with a massive amount of air pollution. It’s so bad; the state sued the Environmental Protection Agency for the horrible situation.

How low can you go?

With 74.7 years, Mississippi wears the crown of lowest expectancy in the country. For residents, this isn’t surprising news. The state always had the lowest expectancy every single year. 19.8 percent of its residents live in poverty. This number ranks the state at number one for the highest poverty percentage in the country. In a further look, 60 percent of Mississippi counties are in consistent poverty. There’s also the fact of one-third of adults refusing to exercise. The lack of taking care of physical health leads to deaths yearly.

Well, what’s keeping people from leaving the state for better opportunities elsewhere? When it comes to renting, this state is tough to beat. Residents can rent a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house for around $700 per month. Overpaying residents from California and New York are looking at Mississippi in sheer jealousy. While rent looks good, the job market in the state is abysmal.

19.8 percent of Mississippi’s residents live in poverty

The second-lowest state is West Virginia, with 75.3 years. When it comes to smoking, residents enjoy taking a nice puff on the hour. 24.8 percent of residents smoke cigarettes every single day. 35.5 percent of residents also find themselves the victim of obesity. Unfortunately. the state leads the country in both unwanted statistics. Other states with low expectancy are Arkansas (75.8 years), South Carolina (76.8 years), and Georgia (77.4 years).

While these numbers are shocking, people should live where they feel happy and secure. If you’re filthy rich and want to be the big boss, though, head down to Mississippi.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

• How a higher life expectancy will affect your retirement fund | Living 101

Sorry for living a good life.

• 5 things you should and shouldn’t do to live a long, happy life | Living 101

Don’t try swapping these things, either.