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5 States Where Death Arrives Early

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A baby born in the United States in 2018 could expect to live 78.7 years — but the gap between the average life expectancy in the healthiest states and the unhealthiest states was wide.

Elizabeth Arias and other analysts at the National Vital Statistics System have published tables telling the story in a new report, “U.S. State Life Tables, 2018.”

The National Vital Statistics System is part of the National Center for Health Statistics, which is an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Actuaries use that kind of data when designing, pricing and tracking life insurance policies, individual annuities, pension plans and other arrangements that depend  on how long people live.

The new life tables report is part of what the authors say will be a series of annual “complete period, state-specific life tables.”

A period life table shows what would happen to a group of people at a given age, in a given year, if the mortality rates for people of each age in that year prevailed for the rest of those people’s lives.

The new table, for example, shows what would happen to the life expectancy of babies born in 2018 if the death rates for people of any given age in 2018 stayed the same for the rest of the babies’ lives.

For a U.S. baby born in 2018, the period life table life expectancy ranged from 81 years, in one state, down to 74.4 years — meaning that the state of birth could add or subtract 6.6 years of life from the baby’s life expectancy.

The baby would have a good chance of living until 2092 if it was born in one state, or until 2099 if it was born in another.

For someone who turned 65 in 2018 and began, for example, to collect retirement benefits, the highest state-specific life expectancy was 21.1 years, the lowest was 17.5 years, and the gap was 3.6 years.

In other words: 65-year-olds could hope to live to 82.5 years , or until 2035, in one state, or move to the healthiest state before their birthdays and hope to live to 86.1 years, or until 2039.

For a look at the five states with the lowest period life table life expectancy at birth in 2018, see the slideshow above.

(Credit: Min C. Chiu/Shutterstock)