This State Has the Shortest Life Expectancy

Our time on Earth is finite and fleeting. All we can do is make the most of the years we have, and that’s where life expectancy comes into play.

For a moment, overlook that a large portion of the United States could be wiped away by a North Korean missile strike. Put aside that we spend way too much on health care, only to receive lackluster treatment compared to other first-world countries. And not too long ago the U.S. made great strides increasing life expectancy, only to see the average slide back the other way.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data show the overall life expectancy in the U.S. to be 78.8. Men lag behind at 76.3 years while women live 81.2 years on average. Those numbers are some of the worst among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

Despite some of the alarming trends, babies born in the U.S. now could push the numbers back up. By 2050, 1 in 5 Americans could be older than 65. It’s an encouraging sign, but unfortunately some states have it worse than others. Using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, these are the 15 worst states for life expectancy, including one that is the worst by a fairly substantial margin.

15. North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA Cancer is the leading cause of death in North Carolina. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Life expectancy: 77.8 years

If you’re white and you live in North Carolina, you’re much closer to the national average, living to 78.3 years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Unfortunately, one sector of the population helps North Carolina make the list. If you’re black, your average life expectancy is just 74.7 years. As of 2014 (the latest year full data was available), the state’s average of 858.5 deaths per 100,00 is 66 above the national average. According to CDC data, cancer is the leading cause of death.

Next: Heading over to Ohio

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