The top-ranked state for life expectancy in 2019 was Hawaii, at 80.9 years, according to a federal report released Thursday. Mississippi came in last, with life expectancy at 74.4 years.

After Hawaii, California, New York, Minnesota and Massachusetts rounded out the top five states for the highest life expectancies at birth overall for males and females in 2019. Southern states — Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and West Virginia — filled the bottom five.

National Center for Health Statistics

The report by the National Center for Health Statistics, which falls under the CDC, ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia using state-specific death and population figures from 2019. It said life expectancy at birth for the entire United States that year was 78.8 — a 0.1-year increase from the year prior. 

The 2019 figures are from a time period before the COVID-19 pandemic, which took a toll on the nation’s average life expectancy. A CDC report in July estimated U.S. life expectancy fell by a year-and-a-half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II. The decline among men was even greater, with about 2 years lost.

U.S. life expectancy drops due to COVID-19


In the 2019 report, there were notable differences when expectancies were broken down by genders; life expectancy was consistently higher among female populations in all 50 states and D.C. 

“The difference in life expectancy between the sexes in the United States was 5.1 years in 2019, ranging from a high of 6.4 years in Mississippi to a low of 3.5 years in Utah,” the report said. “With a few exceptions, the states with the largest sex differences are those with lower life expectancy at birth, while the smallest sex differences are found mostly among states with higher life expectancy.”

The report also ranked states by life expectancy at age 65. Hawaii was again at the top, ranking first among the population overall, as well as for specific male and female populations: 21.2, 19.4 and 22.9 years, respectively. 

Mississippi again ranked last. It had the the lowest life expectancy for the total population and just for males at age 65 — 17.5 years and 15.8 years, respectively. Kentucky had the lowest life expectancy among females: 18.8 years at age 65 for that population. 

“From 2018 to 2019, life expectancy at birth declined for 14 states,” the report said. “The declines ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 year. Life expectancy remained the same for 5 states and increased for 31 states and D.C. Increases ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 year.”