Retirees might want to say aloha to life in Hawaii. The 65-year-old residents of this tropical paradise may actually live the longest in America, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the first time, the government looked at healthy life expectancy (HLE) rates for 65-year-olds, state-by-state. To determine the quality of life in those remaining years–measuring time without suffering from any illnesses and disabilities, for example–researchers combined mortality data with health status data.
Hawaii topped the list; 65-year-olds there can expect to live another 16.2 years in healthy condition. Retiree mecca Florida along with Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut also ranked high on the list.
The Southern states as well as parts of the Midwest ranked towards the bottom, pointing to higher rates of obesity, smoking and heart disease as contributing factors. Mississippi performed the worst–anyone who has made it to 65 can expect to live another 10.8 healthy years. Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama and Louisiana were not much better.
The CDC estimated that Americans who reach the age of 65 usually have another 19 years left to live–14 of those years being in relatively good health. Overall, women tend to live longer and healthier lives than men.
For several decades, life expectancy across the U.S. has been steadily growing. On average, current newborns will most likely live to be at least 79-years-old.
The CDC calculated the numbers based on findings from the National Vital Statistics Systems, the Census Bureau and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System taken from 2007 to 2009.