Society Maps of life expectancy by US State by racial group and gender


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Using data from Wikipedia for 2018, I have created maps of life expectancy by US State. I first compared overall male vs female life expectancy, as it did for Europe (also for 2018). I used the same colour scale for all maps so that the differences are immediately apparent.

Let's first compare female life expectancy in the US vs Europe. Hawaiian women live the longest in the US, with an average of 85.1 years. This is comparable to the top countries in Europe: Spain, Italy, Switzerland and France. After that, only California and New York are in the 83-84 years range, comparable to Greece, Britain, Ireland and Germanic countries (except Denmark). The rest of the US is similar to Baltic and Slavic countries, Romania, Albania and Turkey.



And now for men. The gap with Europe is even more marked, as the top 3, Hawaii, California and New York, do not even reach 80 years, and so are slightly under the Western Europe average. The US average is similar to countries like Czechia, Croatia and Albania Most Bible Belt states have male life expectancies lower than in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Iran, and so on.



A lot of Americans know that their country's relatively low life expectancy is caused by Black people, who live many years less than other Americans. Quite a few people seem convinced that Hispanics are also to blame. But the data shows that Hispanics in fact live longer than Whites in almost every single state (a notable exception is New Mexico, where Hispanics have been there for longer than in other parts of the US).




It's interesting that Black people live longer than Whites in some northern states (Maine, Vermont, North & South Dakota, Montana, Idaho).

Asians are not an ethnic category because they include very different groups like Middle Easterners, South Asians and East Asians. Nevertheless people of Asian descent in the US distinguish themselves as a group by their amazingly high life expectancy. Asian Americans live on average 86.3 years, that is 7.6 years longer than White Americans. Their life expectancy is higher than any individual country on Earth - over 2 years higher than Japan!

I had to add a new shade of green for the range 85-86 years old, and could have added another for 86-87 years in addition to the > 87 years, as in 11 states Asians live longer than 87 years old!


In the northern states bordering Canada, Whites and Blacks have about the same average life expectancy. It is Hispanics and Asians who pull the average up (a bit, as they only make a small portion of the population).

Our World in Data has a great page explaining why life expectancy in the US is lower than in other rich countries. The US consistently has the highest death rate among developed countries for:

  • smoking
  • obesity
  • homicides
  • opioid overdoses
  • road accidents
  • infant mortality

Access to health care is lower in the US than in Mexico, Colombia, Russia or even Rwanda!
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Life expectancy is strongly linked to socio-economic status. Wealthier people live longer. That is especially true in the US where health care is so expensive. One reason why Asian Americans live so long is that they have higher median incomes. That's because many of the best university students from India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Southeast Asia do all they can to study in the US, and many of them stay in the US after graduating, getting well paid jobs as doctors, lawyers, engineers, developers or researchers.

Hispanics have long been stigmatised as they were seen as poor migrants coming to do jobs that White Americans didn't want to do. But things are changing. This page shows that the poverty rate is declining much faster among Hispanic and Black Americans than among White Americans. In the six years from 2013 to 2018, the poverty rate only decline from 10% to 8.1% among Whites (-1.9%), but from 25.3% to 20.7% among Blacks (-4.6%) and from 24.7% to 17.6% (-7.1%) among Hispanics. If this trend continues, Hispanics should be catching up with Whites around year 2026 to 2028.

What is odd is that Hispanic Americans already live 3 years longer than White Americans despite being considerably poorer. So money is not everything.
It's genes, diet, and lifestyle choices, as well as access to health care.

Fwiw, people at or near the poverty level can get Medicaid and get access to health care through that federal program, and while doctors who accept Medicaid may be younger, or not as good, or the waits may be longer, a lot of times people don't even bother to go. Drug addicted girls and women often don't, for example, go for pre-natal care, or take their pre-natal vitamins, with the expected impact on the babies in terms not only of birth weight, and overall health, but the death rate. Hell, some of them don't even stop taking drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, resulting in horrible numbers of crack and opiate addicted babies. Forget about going to the doctor. Or, take the use of condoms: there's a stigma attached to men wearing them, resulting in unwanted births, but also high levels of venereal disease.

Same goes for young men who get cracked teeth and abscesses from taking meth and die of it, or walk out into traffic etc.because they're totally delusional. If you're on opiates, you can become dangerously thin, not to mention the overdoses. There are reports in the paper of parents who keep Narcan in their homes because they know some of their children may overdose from heroin or fentanyl.

Unless you've had personal experience with the behavior patterns among the underclass it's difficult to imagine what some people do or don't do, and going to the doctor regularly and taking necessary meds are some of the things which just aren't necessarily done. Nor, sometimes, are the instructions understood or followed. People with extremely high blood pressure who are obese may still be going to fast food restaurants rather than even buying some chicken thighs and frozen vegetables from the market and cooking it.

The government can only do so much when there's been a total breakdown socially.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

Btw, as to East Asians, I would agree that most of them stay thin; that isn't the case for Indian Americans. From what I can see they definitely have an obesity problem, and a propensity genetically to type 2 diabetes, as do black Americans.

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