Feb 14, 2022 - News

Arkansans' life expectancy among worst in nation

Data: CDC National Center for Health Statistics; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

We do not live as long as people in most states.

Driving the news: The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics released new data on average life expectancy by state last week.

  • Arkansas ranks 46 in the nation at 75.7 years.

Why it matters: Life expectancy is one indicator of overall health in the state.

Zoom in: Arkansas has higher rates of several diseases and other causes of death compared to other states.

  • The state ranks No. 1 in chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as emphysema, and No. 3 in heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease rates, according to the CDC.
  • Arkansas also has the ninth-highest suicide rate in the country, and the rate of firearm-related deaths is 1.7 times the national average.

Zoom out: Arkansas is not alone. Southeastern states generally have shorter life expectancies than other regions. Mississippi had the lowest at 74 years, while Hawaii had the highest at 81 years.

Yes, but: The data is from before the pandemic began. Overall U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 in 2020.

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