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Comparing Life Expectancy for New Jersey Residents with Other States

Life expectancy is one of the most important and commonly cited indicators of population health -- and in the United States, life expectancy is falling at a historic rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy at birth declined by 1.5 years in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II.

The CDC attributes the decline to the COVID-19 pandemic and 93,000 drug overdose deaths -- an all-time one-year high. Homicide, diabetes, and liver disease were also contributing factors. Here is a look at the states with the most drug overdose deaths in 2020.

While the national trend is alarming, there are considerable regional variations in life expectancy across the country.

As of 2019, the most recent available year of state-level data, life expectancy at birth in New Jersey is 80.5 years, the eighth highest among states and higher than the comparable national average of 79.2 years.

Both at an individual and population level, life expectancy is closely linked to certain economic factors. For example, lower-income Americans are less able to afford adequate health care or a range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle. Recent studies have shown that life expectancy among the wealthiest 1% of Americans exceeds that of the poorest 1% by well over a decade. This general pattern holds in New Jersey, where the typical household earns $85,751 a year, far more than the national median household income of $65,712.

Data on average life expectancy at birth is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program's 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. Additional data is from both CHR and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey.

Rank State Life expectancy at birth (yrs.) Adults who smoke (%) Median household income ($) Poverty rate (%)
1 Hawaii 82.3 14.4 83,102 9.3
2 California 81.7 11.5 80,440 11.8
3 New York 81.4 13.0 72,108 13.0
4 Connecticut 80.9 12.5 78,833 10.0
4 Minnesota 80.9 15.5 74,593 9.0
6 Massachusetts 80.6 13.7 85,843 9.4
6 Colorado 80.6 14.7 77,127 9.3
8 New Jersey 80.5 13.2 85,751 9.2
9 Washington 80.4 12.1 78,687 9.8
10 Florida 80.2 14.9 59,227 12.7
11 Utah 80.1 9.1 75,780 8.9
12 Arizona 80.0 14.5 62,055 13.5
13 Oregon 79.9 15.7 67,058 11.4
14 Rhode Island 79.8 15.2 71,169 10.8
14 Vermont 79.8 14.7 63,001 10.2
16 North Dakota 79.7 19.7 64,577 10.6
16 New Hampshire 79.7 16.6 77,933 7.3
18 Nebraska 79.6 16.6 63,229 9.9
18 Virginia 79.6 15.1 76,456 9.9
20 Wisconsin 79.5 17.2 64,168 10.4
21 Illinois 79.4 15.9 69,187 11.5
21 Idaho 79.4 15.0 60,999 11.2
21 Iowa 79.4 17.4 61,691 11.2
24 Texas 79.2 14.2 64,034 13.6
24 Maryland 79.2 12.6 86,738 9.0
26 Alaska 79.0 18.5 75,463 10.1
27 Montana 78.9 18.9 57,153 12.6
27 South Dakota 78.9 20.2 59,533 11.9
27 Wyoming 78.9 19.2 65,003 10.1
30 Nevada 78.7 15.7 63,276 12.5
30 Maine 78.7 19.4 58,924 10.9
32 Pennsylvania 78.5 17.9 63,463 12.0
32 Kansas 78.5 17.9 62,087 11.4
32 Delaware 78.5 17.4 70,176 11.3
35 North Carolina 78.1 17.9 57,341 13.6
35 Michigan 78.1 20.1 59,584 13.0
37 New Mexico 78.0 15.9 51,945 18.2
38 Georgia 77.9 16.3 61,980 13.3
39 Missouri 77.3 20.1 57,409 12.9
40 South Carolina 77.1 18.7 56,227 13.8
40 Indiana 77.1 21.7 57,603 11.9
42 Ohio 77.0 21.4 58,642 13.1
43 Louisiana 76.1 21.1 51,073 19.0
43 Arkansas 76.1 23.7 48,952 16.2
43 Oklahoma 76.1 19.9 54,449 15.2
46 Tennessee 76.0 20.8 56,071 13.9
47 Kentucky 75.6 24.1 52,295 16.3
47 Alabama 75.6 20.0 51,734 15.5
49 Mississippi 74.9 21.0 45,792 19.6
50 West Virginia 74.8 26.9 48,850 16.0
 
 

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