Due to improvements in medicine, sanitation, and other public health advances, life expectancy in most of the developed world has increased nearly every year over the past century. Despite this trend, life expectancy in fallen in the U.S. for the second year in a row.
While Americans enjoyed the highest life expectancy of any OECD nation in the 1960s, the U.S. health advantage began to wane in the 1980s and eventually fell below the OECD average in 1998. The U.S. average life expectancy at birth today is 78.7 years, 1.5 years lower than the OECD average.
Relative to other affluent nations, Americans report worse birth outcomes, more injuries and homicides, higher teenage pregnancy rates, and higher incidences of HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Life expectancy also varies heavily across the United States. While life expectancy in some states is greater than the OECD average, in others it is on par with developing countries like Malaysia, Uruguay, and Iran. Differences in life expectancy throughout the United States largely parallel differences in socioeconomic conditions, like income and education, and risk factors like smoking, inactivity, and obesity.
To determine the states with the longest and shortest life expectancy, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2014 life expectancy at birth figures provided by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global research center affiliated with the University of Washington.