The life expectancy for men and women varies with each generation, but it’s important to understand the average U.S. life expectancy statistics by gender, ethnicity, and state.

When you take a look at life expectancy from every angle, it starts to make sense how data experts come to these conclusions.

At a glance, the average life expectancy in the U.S. for women is 81 years and 77 years for men.

Remember, this is bound to vary greatly among individuals.

However, averages provide an overview of what the U.S. population can expect from a variety of factors.

Data surrounding life expectancy starts at birth, and a majority of this information comes from organizations like the CDC, OECD, and CIA.

In this article, you’ll get a detailed looked at life expectancy in the United States and the factors that play into the averages of the data.

Average U.S. Life Expectancy Statistics by Gender, Ethnicity & State

Key Statistics:

  • Average life expectancy between men and women ranges from 78.5 to 80 years
  • The U.S. ranks 43rd in global life expectancy
  • Primary factors in falling life expectancy in the U.S. is due to Covid and drug overdoses
  • Asian Americans have the longest life expectancy out of any other ethnicity at 86.5 years
  • U.S. life expectancy has risen by 8.7 years since 1960

The Current State of Life Expectancy Data

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When you take a look at life expectancy from an individual level, you’ll find that how long someone lives will vary quite a bit.

However, regarding an entire nation’s population, you can average the life expectancy of most people.

Data on this particular topic will also shift quite a bit if you were to consider other countries, as there are many unique factors involved.

Within the United States, there are multiple reasons for the known life expectancy, and these factors also change due to various causes over the years.

From one generation to the next, aspects like work-life balance, diseases, and diet choices can all be included in the average life expectancy.

Even though a majority of the numbers mentioned in this article seem pretty decent, there are bound to be quite a few people who fall short or exceed average numbers.

Average Life Expectancy From Birth in the U.S.

It’s important to note that averages are bound to vary depending on where you get your data from.

Nevertheless, the numbers aren’t too far off from each other, regardless of the source.

This can be found in the life expectancy averages provided by the CDC, CIA, and OECD.

Here are the averages from the organizations mentioned above:

  • OCED = 78.5 years
  • CDC = 78.6 years
  • CIA = 80 years

This is the latest data that was collected from 2017.

In a collection of data from OCED based on developed nations, the U.S. falls short by 1.9 years in life expectancy compared to other countries.

You can also compare the most recent data with the previous year (2016), as there were some obvious changes that took place.

Between 2016 and 2017, death rates between 25 and 44-year-olds increased quite a bit.

On top of that, those between 45 and 54 saw a decrease in deaths, and individuals 85 or older saw an increase in death rates.

Some points can be seen as good or bad news, but you have to remember the script could flip with the following year.

Data also shows how life expectancy in the U.S. stacks up to other developed nations in the world.


The U.S. and the Global Life Expectancy

The average numbers for the U.S. may sound good, but there are many other countries that are ahead of it.

Regarding life expectancy, the United States sits at 43rd among other countries.

This number is out of 224 countries.

Leaders for this data include Singapore at 3rd (85.2 years), Japan at 2nd (85.3 years), and Monaco at 1st (89.4 years).

Once again, data varies based on where you get it from, and the information mentioned above comes from the CIA.

If you were to look at statistics from the OECD, it includes a list of 44 developed nations.

The U.S. average from this list is 78.5 years, and there are 18 countries where residents are expected to live at least three years longer than that.

You’ll also find that there are 25 countries with an average lifespan of over 80 years in data pulled from the OECD.

Out of the 44 countries included in this data, the United States ranks 29 out of 44 developed nations for average life expectancy.


Why Life Expectancy is Falling in the U.S.

Over the span of decades, life expectancy in the U.S. has increased quite a bit. However, in the last few years, the trend is starting to go in the other direction.

In 2020, the U.S. life expectancy fell to 77 years and was slightly lower in 2021.

This is the largest decrease in a two-year period since the 1920s, so you can see why the information comes with substantial concern.

Although life expectancy is declining, the numbers also fluctuate between different ethnicities.

In the table below, you can get a look at the life expectancies of different ethnicities in the United States.

Ethnic GroupLife Expectancy
American Indians65.2 years
Alaska Native65.2 years
White Americans76.4 years
Black Americans70.8 years
Asian Americans83.5 years
Hispanic Americans77.7 years

Once again, environmental factors, health habits, genetics, and disease can all affect these averages.

Individuals live very different lives, and the data provided in this article reflects on numbers from large population groups.

The causes for the drop in life expectancy come down to a few major contributing factors.

Accidental injuries, Covid-19, and overdoses heavily affected life expectancy data in the United States.

These causes accounted for roughly two-thirds of the decreases recorded over the last few years.

The numbers for drops in life expectancy also varied between ethnic groups:

  • Asian Americans = 2.1 years
  • White Americans = 2.4 years
  • Black Americans = 4 years
  • Hispanic Americans = 4.2 years
  • American Indian/Alaska Native = 6.6 years

Other factors such as food insecurity, poverty levels, and issues with access to healthcare also play a role in the drop in life expectancy.

There are some similarities among groups with a life expectancy that’s shown to be lower than others.

Some of these similarities include:

  • Live in a crowded setting
  • Have high-risk jobs
  • Limited access to vaccinations for Covid-19

You can also pull data from maternal mortality, infant mortality, and vaccination rates to determine a nation’s life expectancy.

Considering the diverse nature of the United States, data on life expectancy also changes significantly from one state to the next.

This is likely due to differences in pollution levels, politics, climate, and vaccination policies, to name a few.


Correlations Between Life Expectancy and Healthcare Spend

Shockingly, although the U.S. far exceeds other developed nations in healthcare spending, it still comes out with one of the lowest life expectancies.

In the table below, you can get a look at the life expectancy of developed nations and health spending per capita from 2021.

CountryLife ExpectancyHealth Spending Per Capita
Japan84.5 years$4,666
Switzerland84 years$7,179
Australia83.4 years$5,627
Sweden83.2 years$6,262
France82.5 years$5,468
Belgium81.9 years$5,274
Netherlands81.5 years$6,190
Austria81.3 years$6,693
Germany80.9 years$7,383
United Kingdom80.8 years$5,387
United States76.1 years$12,318

Overall, the United States spends about double on healthcare compared to the other nations mentioned above.

To highlight this in more detail, the U.S. spends over $4,000 more per capita.

This information offers a good look into the healthcare issues within the U.S.

Even though more is being spent on healthcare, the average life expectancy continues to remain lower than in other developed countries.

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Significant Changes in Life Expectancy in Just a Few Years


If you review data that ranges from 1980 to 2021, the United States and comparable countries seem to be on a similar progressive incline.

It should be noted that the U.S. has always held a lower life expectancy, but there was a drastic shift once 2020 came around.

Of course, much of this has to do with Covid-19, but data shows that other countries responded more effectively to public health.

Even in the wake of Covid-19, life expectancy in comparable countries continued to rise through the height of the pandemic.

In regard to the United States, life expectancy saw a sharp decline and is still on this trajectory.

For example, life expectancy in the U.S. sat at 78.8 years in 2019, and data from 2021 shows that it dropped to 76.1 years.

Between 2019 and 2021, the U.S. saw a decrease of 2.7 years in life expectancy, whereas comparable countries only saw a decrease of 0.2 years.

All of this information is cause for concern in the United States, as accessible healthcare, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices can have a negative effect on life expectancy rates.

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Life Expectancy by State

Among U.S. averages for life expectancy, this number considers life expectancy in every state.

The state with the highest life expectancy is found in Hawaii at 81.5 years, and men in Mississippi have the lowest life expectancy at 71.4 years.

Compared to Hawaii alone, there are only 20 countries across the globe that have a higher life expectancy.

Different regions of the United States come with some unique trends as well.

Individuals who live in the South can generally expect a lower life expectancy compared to other regions of the U.S.

The table below highlights the top five and bottom five states in regard to average life expectancy.

Top 5 StatesLife Expectancy
Hawaii81.5 years
California81 years
Minnesota80.8 years
New York80.7 years
Connecticut80.6 years
Bottom 5 StatesLife Expectancy
Arkansas75.4 years
Kentucky75.1 years
Alabama74.9 years
West Virginia74.9 years
Mississippi74.6 years

There’s a significant difference between states like Hawaii and Mississippi.

Residents in Hawaii can expect to live almost 7 years longer than if they lived in a state like Mississippi.

Life expectancy averages between men and women by U.S. states show a 7.3-year expectancy difference for men and a 6.6-year expectancy difference for women.


Top U.S. States with the Best and Worst Health Insurance Percentages


For people in the United States, health insurance coverage plays a big role in life expectancy.

Statistics show that some states come with a much better percentage in health insurance coverage than others.

Top 5 StatesPercentage of People Without Coverage
District of Columbia3.8%
Bottom 5 StatesPercentage of People Without Coverage

A lot of this has to do with the sheer cost of health insurance in the United States.

Even with the availability of certain credits to help pay for insurance, some individuals simply can’t afford to sign up for it.

There are various aspects that amount to the cost of health insurance, and this process is also handled differently on a state-by-state basis.


Final Thoughts

Hopefully, as time progresses, life expectancy will increase on a global scale.

Modern advancements in healthcare are a big factor in rising life expectancy rates.

For the United States, the country is in the middle of a decline, but it can definitely be turned around with future generations. 

All of this data primarily focuses on the last few years and could look drastically different in the near future.

In this article, you were provided with a comprehensive overview of the average U.S. life expectancy statistics by gender, ethnicity, and state.


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