Georgia has the same life expectancy as Mexico

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 3, 2014 

The United States of America ranks 35th, globally, in average life expectancy, between Costa Rica and Chile, at slightly more than 79-and-a-half years. But each state is different: some, such as Connecticut and Hawaii, almost or do hit 81 years; others, such as Arkansas and Alabama, are several years short of that (at 76 and 75.4 years, respectively).

A new map over at The Atlantic compares each state's average life expectancy with its closest global analog. (The state data is from Measure of America; the global data is from the World Health Organization.) So, for example, South Carolina's average life expectancy of 77 years makes it equal to Poland — and Hawaii's high-water mark of 81.3 years is the same as Cyprus (notably, both have populations of less than 1.5 million).

Georgia's equal is Mexico. Both countries' average lifespan is 77.2 years, which is higher than Alabama's average and the average of its closest comparison, Qatar. Mississippi, whose average of 75 years is the lowest in the country, is equal to Syria.

As Olga Khazan notes, the state-by-state breakdown reveals a geographic trend ripe for analysis: "People in southern states, which generally have lower incomes and higher obesity rates, tend to die sooner, and healthier, richer states tend to foster longevity."

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