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MoneyGeek Analysis:

This Connecticut Metro Area Has the Longest Life Expectancy, Edging Out the Bay Area for No. 1 in the US

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 1/18/2023
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Life expectancy at birth in the United States has experienced a significant decline in recent years, dropping from 77 to 76.1 from 2020 to 2021, the lowest level since 1996. The average human lifespan varies depending on many factors, including income level, race and even — where you live.

To explore how location affects the average age of death, MoneyGeek looked at the average life expectancy for 118 major metropolitan areas with 250,000 residents or more using data from County Health Rankings and ranked them in order of longest to shortest life expectancy.

Key Findings:
  • Residents in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area in Connecticut have the longest life expectancy in the U.S. at 83 years.
  • Six of the 10 metro areas with the longest life expectancy are in California and Florida.
  • Three of the 5 metro areas with the lowest life expectancy are in Alabama.
  • Jackson, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama metros have the lowest life expectancy among the 118 metro areas we analyzed.

The 20 Metros With the Longest Average Life Expectancy

At the top of our list of metros with the longest life expectancies is the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area in Connecticut, where the current life expectancy at birth is 83 years. Three metro areas in Florida, including Miami, and three metros in California made it to the top ten. The New York metro area took the fourth spot with an average life expectancy of 82.6 years, while Honolulu, Hawaii, was close behind in the fifth spot with an expectancy of 82.5 years.

Metro Areas With the Longest Average Life Expectancy

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  • Metropolitan Statistical Area
    Life Expectancy
  • 1.
    Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
    83.0
  • 2.
    San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA
    82.9
  • 3.
    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
    82.8
  • 4.
    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
    82.6
  • 5.
    Urban Honolulu, HI
    82.5

The 20 Metros With the Shortest Average Life Expectancy

MoneyGeek’s study showed that the average human lifespan for people living in some cities in the southeastern United States is five to ten years less than those in the top ten metro areas.

In fact, all ten metros with the shortest life expectancies were in the Southeast. Jackson, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama, tied for the worst metros overall, with the average age of death at 74.4. Looking at the lowest 20 metro areas more generally, the South occupied nineteen of the lowest 20 spots, with only Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (76.1) representing another part of the country.

Metro Areas With the Shortest Average Life Expectancy

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  • Metropolitan Statistical Area
    Life Expectancy
  • 1.
    Jackson, MS
    74.4
  • 2.
    Mobile, AL
    74.4
  • 3.
    Birmingham-Hoover, AL
    74.6
  • 4.
    Montgomery, AL
    74.7
  • 5.
    Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
    75.2

Factors That Impact Life Expectancy in the US

So, why did overall life expectancy at birth decline, and why are the rates so much lower in certain parts of the country than others? In addition to the 0.9-year drop in 2021, research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that nationally, American life expectancy went down by 1.8 years in 2020. The last time such an extreme two-year decline was recorded? 1921 to 1923.

Breaking down these statistics even further, women’s life expectancy from 2020 to 2021 fell from 79.9 to 79.1 years, while men’s dropped from 74.2 to 73.2 years. Racial disparities tell an even more dire story, as non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals saw a 1.9-year drop in life expectancy to 65.2 years, while life expectancy for non-Hispanic Black people fell from 71.5 years in 2020 to 70.8 in 2021.

The overall cause of these dramatic declines, according to the CDC, is a large number of deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An increase in accidental deaths, including drug overdoses, also contributed to the reduction in life expectancy.

The much lower average lifespan among many ethnic groups, as well as the lower life expectancy rates MoneyGeek found for metro areas in the southern United States, can partly be explained by social determinants of health. People born into poverty have fewer financial resources, are more likely to experience food insecurity and often lack access to decent health care.

Overall, the United States ranks well below other wealthy countries in terms of average life expectancy. This is due not only to America’s higher death rates from COVID-19 and lower vaccination rates but also to the lack of universal health care. The number of Americans without health insurance represents around 12% of the general population, and without health insurance, one trip to the hospital for an emergency could bankrupt you.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Family's Financial Future and Live a Longer, Healthier Life

Especially for those who live in parts of the country with lower life expectancies, preventive care and eating healthy despite rising food costs are essential in living a long and productive life. Making sure to have full health insurance coverage is also important. The average cost of health insurance in 2023 for a 40-year-old individual is about $477. However, you may be eligible for subsidies, depending on your income or employer-sponsored programs, depending on your employer.

Finding low-cost health insurance may seem complex, but for those not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace likely offers the most affordable options. Beyond that, seeking out quality life insurance to support your family if something happens to you is also a good idea, and the best life insurance companies offer solid coverage at affordable prices. The best life insurance policies for seniors will help cover end-of-life expenses and ensure that the deceased's assets get passed onto survivors and are not lost to outstanding debts or other outstanding payments.

Expert Insights

MoneyGeek spoke with leading academics whose work focuses on life expectancy and the social determinants of health. These experts gave us more insight into why some parts of the country have a longer life expectancy than others.

  1. In our survey, metro areas in southern states ranked the lowest for life expectancy. What are some reasons why life expectancy is so low in southern states?
  2. By contrast, the cities with the highest life expectancy were mostly in the Northeast, California and Florida. For these types of metro areas, what are some qualities we find in people’s environments that help improve life expectancy?
  3. What role do income and race play in lower life expectancies?
  4. Why does the U.S. lag behind other wealthy countries in terms of average life expectancy? What could we learn from other countries about how to improve this statistic?
Shan-Estelle Brown
Shan-Estelle Brown

Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Global Health Program, Rollins College

Anastasia Miller
Anastasia Miller

Assistant Professor of Healthcare Administration, Texas Woman's University

Oscar G. Gomez-Duarte
Oscar G. Gomez-Duarte

Chief Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases & Associate Professor Department of Pediatrics, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed 2021 data from County Health Rankings and calculated the average life expectancy for major metropolitan areas with 250,000 residents or more. Using this information, we ranked these metros in order of longest to shortest life expectancy.

If you have any questions about our findings or methodology, please reach out to Melody Kasulis via email at melody@moneygeek.com.

Full Data Set

The data points presented are defined as follows:

  • Rank: Rankings determined by average life expectancy at birth, by metro area
  • MSA: Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Average Life Expectancy: Average life expectancy at birth in the associated MSA
Rank
State
MSA
Average Life Expectancy

1

Connecticut

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

83.0

2

California

San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

82.9

3

California

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

82.8

4

New York

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

82.6

5

Hawaii

Urban Honolulu, HI

82.5

6

Florida

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

82.5

7

Florida

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL

82.5

8

California

San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

82.2

9

Florida

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

81.9

10

Colorado

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

81.8

11

District of Columbia

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

81.8

12

Texas

Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX

81.6

13

Arizona

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

81.5

14

California

Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

81.5

15

Minnesota

Minneapolis-St Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

81.4

16

Arizona

Tucson, AZ

81.3

17

Massachusetts

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

81.2

18

Texas

Brownsville-Harlingen, TX

81.0

19

Illinois

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

80.7

20

Wisconsin

Green Bay, WI

80.7

21

Washington

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

80.6

22

Oregon

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

80.5

23

New York

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

80.3

24

North Carolina

Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

80.3

25

Connecticut

Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT

80.2

26

Wisconsin

Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

80.2

27

Iowa

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

80.2

28

Texas

El Paso, TX

80.1

29

Connecticut

New Haven-Milford, CT

80.1

30

Florida

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

79.9

31

Nebraska

Lincoln, NE

79.8

32

Maine

Portland-South Portland, ME

79.7

33

New Hampshire

Manchester-Nashua, NH

79.6

34

Utah

Ogden-Clearfield, UT

79.6

35

Nebraska

Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA

79.5

36

Michigan

Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

79.5

37

Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

79.4

38

Iowa

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL

79.3

39

Rhode Island

Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

79.3

40

Texas

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

79.2

41

Michigan

Kalamazoo-Portage, MI

79.1

42

Utah

Provo-Orem, UT

79.0

43

Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

79.0

44

Texas

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

79.0

45

Ohio

Cleveland-Elyria, OH

79.0

46

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

78.9

47

North Carolina

Raleigh-Cary, NC

78.9

48

Pennsylvania

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ

78.9

49

Florida

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

78.9

50

Colorado

Colorado Springs, CO

78.9

51

Virginia

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC

78.8

52

South Carolina

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

78.7

53

Nevada

Reno, NV

78.7

54

Idaho

Boise City, ID

78.5

55

Maryland

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

78.4

56

Texas

Killeen-Temple, TX

78.4

57

New York

Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY

78.4

58

New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM

78.4

59

Michigan

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

78.3

60

Indiana

Fort Wayne, IN

78.2

61

Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA

78.1

62

Florida

Gainesville, FL

78.1

63

Ohio

Columbus, OH

78.0

64

Indiana

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

77.9

65

North Carolina

Asheville, NC

77.9

66

Georgia

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA

77.9

67

Missouri

Kansas City, MO-KS

77.9

68

Kentucky

Lexington-Fayette, KY

77.8

69

Indiana

Evansville, IN-KY

77.7

70

South Carolina

Columbia, SC

77.7

71

Missouri

St Louis, MO-IL

77.7

72

Alabama

Huntsville, AL

77.7

73

Pennsylvania

Erie, PA

77.7

74

North Carolina

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

77.7

75

Florida

Tallahassee, FL

77.6

76

Virginia

Richmond, VA

77.6

77

Kansas

Wichita, KS

77.5

78

Kentucky

Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

77.5

79

California

Bakersfield, CA

77.5

80

Ohio

Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

77.4

81

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK

77.3

82

Illinois

Peoria, IL

77.3

83

Texas

Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX

77.3

84

Louisiana

New Orleans-Metairie, LA

77.2

85

Texas

Corpus Christi, TX

77.2

86

Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN

77.2

87

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, PA

77.2

88

Ohio

Dayton-Kettering, OH

77.2

89

Arkansas

Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR

77.1

90

North Carolina

Winston-Salem, NC

77.1

91

Indiana

South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI

76.9

92

Florida

Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

76.8

93

Illinois

Rockford, IL

76.7

94

Nevada

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

76.6

95

Florida

Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL

76.5

96

Georgia

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC

76.5

97

Missouri

Springfield, MO

76.5

98

Texas

Lubbock, TX

76.4

99

Oklahoma

Tulsa, OK

76.4

100

Louisiana

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA

76.4

101

Louisiana

Lafayette, LA

76.4

102

Texas

Amarillo, TX

76.3

103

Georgia

Savannah, GA

76.3

104

Virginia

Lynchburg, VA

76.3

105

Virginia

Roanoke, VA

76.2

106

South Carolina

Greenville-Anderson, SC

76.2

107

Pennsylvania

Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA

76.1

108

Florida

Jacksonville, FL

76.1

109

Tennessee

Chattanooga, TN-GA

76.0

110

South Carolina

Spartanburg, SC

75.9

111

Arkansas

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

75.6

112

Tennessee

Knoxville, TN

75.5

113

Tennessee

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

75.5

114

Texas

Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX

75.2

115

Alabama

Montgomery, AL

74.7

116

Alabama

Birmingham-Hoover, AL

74.6

117

Alabama

Mobile, AL

74.4

118

Mississippi

Jackson, MS

74.4

About the Author


expert-profile

Rachel Newcomb is an award-winning writer, storyteller and professor of anthropology at Rollins College. She has over two decades of experience conducting research internationally and domestically and has published books about women's rights, migration and globalization in Morocco.


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