The past few years have been trying, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells the story. Are people in the U.S. living shorter lives? The CDC says we're in a bit of a decline.

According to their numbers, New York state saw the biggest decline in life expectancy in the nation, from 80.7 years in 2019 to 77.7 in 2020. The CDC found that the steep decline was mainly due to factors such as COVID-19 and rising drug overdoses.

Overall, the country's life expectancy dropped from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.0 in 2020. But where does New York rank when compared to other states for longevity?

The Rankings

The CDC ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found that Hawaii has the longest life expectancy in the U.S. at 80.7 years. Massachusetts and New Hampshire were the Northeast's top states as they were tied for 4th, though several other states in the region did well. Washington state, Minnesota, and California rounded out the top of the list.

  • 1. Hawaii: 80.7 
  • 2. Washington: 79.2 
  • 3. Minnesota: 79.1
  • 4. California: 79.0
  • 4. Massachusetts: 79.0
  • 4. New Hampshire: 79.0 
  • 7. Vermont: 78.8
  • 7. Oregon: 78.8 
  • 9. Utah: 78.6
  • 10. Connecticut: 78.4 

New York's Ranking

New York ranked 15th overall, right behind Maine. Men in New York live an average of 74.8 years, and women live an average of 80.7, according to the study. New Jersey was 20th, and Pennsylvania was 25th. Mississippi was dead last with a life expectancy of 71.9 years.

Is New York a Safe State? 

According to one study, the state, as a whole, isn't so bad after all. In fact, according to ConsumerAffairs, eight of the top ten safest states in the country are in the Northeast. New Jersey even topped the list at #1.


Safety Study 

ConsumerAffairs said that they took into account violent crime, property crime, the number of law enforcement officers, and law enforcement spending using data from the FBI and Census Bureau. Overall, New York ranked as the eighth safest state to live in, according to the methodology they used. We ranked high due to the number of law enforcement officers to residents (1 per 335). We also had low property crime rates, according to the data.

But if you're thinking this only applied to small, rural communities upstate, the study took into account safety in cities and towns of all sizes. Two Lower Hudson Valley spots even made the list as the state's safest places to live. ConsumerAffairs goes on to say that the safest largest city in the state is actually Yonkers. Wow, really?

The Town of Mamaroneck was named the safest midsize town.

Vermont was #5. Connecticut ranked #6, and Massachusetts #10 overall. Pennsylvania was #14. The country's least safe state to live in? Well, you might want to avoid Arkansas. But if Arkansas sounds like a nice place to get away, you can visit a town down there with a very familiar name.