A recent government study revealed that seniors in the Southern States tend to have shorter lives than those in the rest of the world. Hawaii is the winner, with the average life span at about 86 years, with most of those years being in reasonable health.
This is the first state-by-state survey of the longevity of Americans, and their health at certain ages. As it turns out, Mississippi did the worst. People in Mississippi that were age 65 were looking at only about 17.5 more years of life, and almost seven of those years in involved iffy health.
The life expectancy for Americans has been steadily climbing for decades, and it’s not at nearly 79 for those born today. On Thursday, the CDC released figures that estimate life expectancy for those that are 65, as well as how many of those years will be free of disabilities and illnesses that occur later in life.
Matt Stiefel oversees population health research with Kaiser Permanente. He says that the length of life isn’t the only significant factor, as the quality of that life is essential.
The WHO (World Health Organization) maintains what is known as “healthy life expectancy” stats on almost 200 countries and the numbers help to determine what are the best ages to set retirement benefits and retirement ages. This measure is still trying to catch on in the US, though as the CDC reports that this is the first study that makes estimates for all of the 50 states.
Across the country, Americans that live until they are 65 will likely live for about 19 more years, and about 14 of those will be in relatively decent health. These numbers are according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimates.
Unfortunately, parts of the Midwest and the South are not as far up there on the longevity scale as in many other parts of the country. While experts are not surprised, those that live in these areas might feel different.
The reason is because Southern states tend to have more people that are obese, have heart disease, smoke, have diabetes and many other illnesses. Southerners also tend to have issues that affect the health, such as more poverty and less education.
Experts say that all of these issues can build up over a lifetime, so it’s unlikely that retiring in Hawaii after growing up in the south will add years to life at that point. Mississippi claims the lowest lifespan, followed by Kentucky, West Virginia and Alabama. They not only have the lowest life expectancy, but they also have low numbers for a healthy late life.
The states that had the best numbers include Florida, a draw for retirees that are healthy; Minnesota and Connecticut. The numbers were determined by using data compiled between 2007 and 2009 from census numbers, death certificates and phone surveys asking participants about their health.
It’s necessary to note that different people in different areas interpret their own health and the survey questions.