If you lived here, you'd live longer
You've taken everything else into consideration when choosing a place to retire to. Now consider the life expectancy of the locals.
This post comes from Emily Brandon at partner site U.S. News & World Report.
When it comes to predicting how long you are likely to live, the place you live matters. Life expectancy in the U.S. ranges from 85 years for women in Marin, Calif., to 72.7 years in Perry, Ky. Local longevity differences are even larger among men, who have a life expectancy in Fairfax County, Va. (81.7 years) that is 17 years longer than in nearby McDowell, W.V. (64 years), according to recent research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
"How health is experienced in the U.S. varies greatly by locale," according to the report.
"People who live in San Francisco or Fairfax County, Va. or Gunnison, Colo. are enjoying some of the best life expectancies in the world. In some U.S. counties, however, life expectancies are on par with countries in North Africa and Southeast Asia."
Counties where women enjoy the greatest longevity also include Montgomery, Md. (84.9 years), Collier, Fla. (84.6 years) and Santa Clara, Calif. (84.5 years). The life expectancy in these places is comparable to countries with the highest life expectancies in the world, including France, Spain and Switzerland.
In places where males live the longest, such as Gunnison County, Colo. (81.7 years), Pitkin, Colo. (81.7 years) and Montgomery, Md. (81.6 years), life expectancy surpasses other long-lived countries like Japan and Switzerland.
Places with the lowest life expectancies, such as McDowell, W.V. (72.9 years) and Tunica, Miss. (73.4 years) for women, and Bolivar, Miss. (65 years) and Perry, Ky. (66.5 years) for men, actually have shorter life expectancies than people in Algeria and Bangladesh, according to the IHME report.
The researchers speculate that the disparities in life expectancy within the U.S. likely have a variety of causes. Socioeconomic factors such as poverty and education are known to play a role in longevity. Some places might have less access to medical facilities, fewer quality health care options available to residents or more people who lack health insurance. In other places, more people engage in riskier behaviors such as smoking, a poor diet or a lack of exercise.
And, of course, healthy individuals might simply move from counties with a low life expectancy into counties with higher life expectancies.
"If you are in a county in the Southeast where obesity is very high, where you don't have health facilities, and you move to a place that has all of the above, it will improve your life," says Ali Mokdad, professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle. "You are more likely to benefit from programs that the county has in place."
Choosing a retirement spot that helps promote healthy behaviors or one where you will be surrounded by peers also engaging in prevention could help you to live longer or remain healthier. Victor Marshall, an emeritus professor and former director of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill's Institute on Aging, recommends selecting a livable community with safe streets and walking paths and a wide range of options to remain physically active, including public parks, pools and tennis courts.
Should these efforts to promote health fail, you'll also want to be in a community with high-quality medical care, "ideally a university hospital affiliated with a medical school," Marshall says. Proximity to a physician who is experienced at treating older patients should be a key component in your retirement relocation decision. "It's a good idea to think, 'If something happened to me or my spouse, how would we get help?'" says James Kirkland, a professor of aging research and director of the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging. "If you are moving to an area that is very distant, if you're going to move to the top of a mountain in Alaska, you are going to have to plan on that not being the last place that you move to."
More from U.S. News & World Report:
- Best places to retire for under $40,000
- 12 important retirement planning deadlines
- The 10 sunniest places to retire
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There are many places in the world where life expectancies are high and poverty and health care availability are not issues. There is a village in Russia where the people typically exceed one hundred years of age but they don't even have electricity according to one article. They grow everything that they consume and make their own material needs in much the same way as they have for hundreds of years. For them it just boils down to no pollution, no food contamination, and a active and healthy life style with plenty of work/exercise.
Worry, stress, obesity, bad life habits, and lack of physical exercise will get you every time. Eliminate those factors and you wind up with a happy healthy population. In another article I read some of the happiest people actually were relatively poor financially but rich in culture and family life and as a result they tended to have relatively long life spans well into their eighties and nineties.
Social pressures make much of the difference. If someone grows up never having anything and they simply don't know what they don't have there is very little concern about their social position. They simply exist and live to the fullest extent genetically possible for them. Accidents and disease aside the human being can have a wide span of life expectancies based purely on their genetics.
One author postulated that we are actually beginning the process of 'devolution' and there is evidence that our DNA double helix is beginning to unravel in some cases. He claims that this is due to the fact that we have used our technology to prolong the lives of physically lesser individuals allowing them to reproduce and pass on their diminished genetic material thus propagating a weaker strain of human. In the past those weaker strains would have died off leaving only the strongest genetic combinations. I am not sure I quite accept that theory but it does rather make a certain amount of sense.
In the simplest terms your life span is determined by several factors. First there is your genetic propensity, followed by your chosen life style and habits, then comes disease and accidents. Each of these factors play a role in just how long you live. For me in my personal belief system that time is pretty much predestined by fate.
Statistics folks, if two people represent a population and one is newborn and the other 80 yrs old, and both pass at the same time the average life expectancy is 40......can't change adults habits very easy, and we have POTENTIAL best healthcare ,but we CAN create a system where children don't die so young. In the US we are #1 in two categories in healthcare in the industrialized world, cost per person and .......INFANT MORTALITY. More children die on their first day than anywhere else in the industrialized world. Second COD (cause of death) is accidents. All of the above from the stupidity of adults, not supervising kids, and ineffectively raising them to easily create babies when they themselves are babies. Procreation should be a privilege not a right.
I was raised in wealthy Marin County, CA , the "Me" county, and I thought our family was poor. We were not poor, just poor in comparison to the average Marin resident. Then I learned about the rest of the country, where the word poor has an entirely different meaning. You have not seen poor until you have seen the rural South and parts of the Midwest. OMG. Many places are as bad as any 3rd world country. Truly sad. And, it is changing for the worse in CA too due to mass illegal immigration of the poor from Mexico.
I would like Dr. Ali Moochalot (LOL) to tell us where in the southeast there are no health care facilities available. This guy is an idiot. I live in Nashville for example which has one of the top Hospital systems in the country and has more hospital per capita than any other city in the nation.
Dr, Moochalot can get on his camel and go back to where he came from.
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