FYI, Your Life Expectancy Can Vary Wildly Based On Where You Live

by Brandon Topp

A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine is making waves with news on life expectancy in the United States. Mapping the entire country, researchers of the study found that there’s a staggering 20-year difference between the county with the highest life expectancy, and the one with the lowest. 

Looking at health trends and facts to help people live longer lives is what our show Change The Day You Die is all about. Each episode, we profile an individual whose health and life is at risk due to poor dietary and exercise habits with the intent of extending their lives. Check out more about Change The Day You Die here and find out where to watch the show.

Here's How Researchers Mapped The Country’s Life Expectancy Rates:


This study was led by public health researcher Laura Dwyer-Lindgren of the University of Washington, Seattle. According to Time, Dwyer-Lindgren analyzed death records from the National Center for Health Statistics, which showed mortality rates across the U.S. by county from 1980-2014. 

Also on Z Living: You Can ‘Change The Day You Die’ By Living In A Healthy City

There's A Staggering Divide Between Long-And-Short Living Regions. 


The most-talked about findings of the study showed that Summit County, Colorado has the highest average life expectancy in the country, at 86.8 years. At the same time, the lowest average life expectancy in the country belongs to Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota, at 66.8-years.

Central Colorado and Central Alaska earned some of the best scores in terms of life expectancy in the study. On the flip side, counties in Kentucky and West Virginia skewed lower in terms of life-expectancy rates. 

The twenty-year difference between the highest and lowest counties proves there are clear trends that distinguish the life expectancies of different areas of the world. Some of these trends in the longer-living areas include higher wealth and better access to healthcare, which aren’t exactly privileges anyone can just go out and acquire. 

Also on Z Living: America’s Most Stressed Out States (And How To Relax, Already!) 

So, What Can We Learn From These Results? 


Time looked at the percentages of variables we do have control over, and how they played into the study. Behavioral factors like smoking, drinking, diet, and obesity were considered determining factors in 74% the study’s cases. This isn’t groundbreaking news, but it is some hard data that can prove to anyone that eating well and avoiding harmful things like cigarettes actually leads to living longer lives.

So carpe diem — there's no better time than now to start living a healthier lifestyle.

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