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How Is Life Expectancy Changing in the US?

Although life expectancy in the United States has risen, it's still substantially behind that of many other developed nations — and in some parts of the U.S., it has dropped dramatically, especially for women. The average life expectancy for a woman in the U.S. is about 81 years, but in some counties, it has dropped to less than 74 years. The life expectancy for women dropped in 737 counties in the U.S. from 1997-2007, with the life expectancy for women in many of those counties being lower than that of women in Syria, Colombia and Armenia.

More facts about life expectancy:

  • The life expectancy for men in the U.S. is about 75 years — an increase of about 2 years from 1997. The average life expectancy in the U.S. in general is about 78 years, which puts the U.S. 37th in the world in terms of life expectancy.

  • Mississippi has the counties with the lowest life expectancy for men and women, with Holmes County having the lowest life expectancy in the nation for both men and women: about 66 years for men and about 73 years for women. Men in Fairfax County, Virginia, have the highest life expectancy, at about 81 years. The life expectancy for women is highest in Collier County, Florida, at about 86 years.

  • The countries that have the highest life expectancy are Japan and Hong Kong, each with an average life expectancy of about 82 years. Countries that have the lowest life expectancy Swaziland, with a life expectancy of about 36 year, followed by Zambia and Angola, each with a life expectancy of about 38 years.

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