Places in America Where People Live the Longest

Updated: Sep. 12, 2023

One of the healthiest choices you can make is where you live—so you just might want to pick one of these counties.

MODEL RELEASED, Road trip couple looking out at Rocky Mountains from four wheel convertible, Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
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Summit County, Colorado

The residents of Summit County, Colorado, boast a median lifespan of 86.8 years (compared to the nationwide median life expectancy of 79 years.), so they know a thing or two about living their best lives, according to a 2018 report from Home to the ski town of Breckenridge, Summit County offers a variety of outdoor sports for its active population. In addition to spending more time outdoors, the residents value healthy diets: There is not one fast food restaurant in the entire city of Breckenridge. With rates of obesity and diabetes on the rise across the country, the expected American lifespan is shrinking for the first time. Cutting out the happy meals keeps Summit County residents fit and healthy.

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This photo shows a curving river at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, N.D., marking the landscape in colorful patterns as it interacts with soil and stone. Teddy Roosevelt spent time in the area to grieve after his wife and mother died the same day, and his experiences there turned the future president into one of America's greatest conservationists. He described the area as "a land of vast silent spaces _ a place of grim beauty
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Billings County, North Dakota

Residents of this rural area can expect to live to 84, thanks to their active lifestyle and the county’s clean air. Billings County is home to ranchers who do physical labor every day; walking and horseback riding is the norm. The county is also free of the smog and stress that accompany life in a bigger city. Chronic stress can affect your lifespan, and actually make you age faster, according to a 2022 study by Yale researchers. Reducing stress by avoiding crazy commutes and large crowds helps keep these residents calm and healthy.

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The San Francisco Bay Bridge in the foreground and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background at sunset as seen from the San Francisco Bay in San Francisco, California, USA, 11 May 2018.
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Marin County, California

This county’s progressive laws and abundance of doctors make healthy lifestyles the norm. One explanation for residents reaching the median age of 83.8 years could be the county’s bans on both smoking and wood-burning heaters. There is also about one primary care doctor for every 630 residents and one mental health provider for every 140 people. According to the National CPR Association, a shortage of physicians is one of the most common reasons adults don’t seek medical care—and that directly impacts a person’s lifespan.

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Aaron Moorer looks for a book in the library at Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Va., . Moorer is from Fairfax County Va., where It's an annual rite in Fairfax County, when hundreds of second-graders trooping off to private psychologists, taking IQ tests to prove they're worthy of the county's advanced academic programs. Data shows that worthy black and Hispanic students are mostly left out
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Fairfax County, Virginia

It’s common for Fairfax residents to bike to work, which may explain why they have a median lifespan of 83.7 years. Education levels help too: About two-thirds of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to just 34% of Americans overall—and higher education is tied to healthy habits. Of course, education can lead to a higher income, and researchers have found that living in a more affluent community can tack on years to your life. Men are especially impacted by education; studies suggest that those with higher levels of education outlive men with lower levels of education.

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This photo provided by Andy Varner, city administrator for Sand Point, Alaska, shows the city's harbor. The small, isolated town at the edge of Alaska's Aleutian Islands had no police oversight for several days after its three officers quit in quick succession and its police chief resigned. Officials say the predicament that befell Sand Point illustrates the persistent challenges of hiring and retaining workers in rural parts of the vast state. Town officials say no big problems occurred when officers were absent

Aleutians East Borough, Alaska

Not many people are lining up to move to rural Aleutians East Borough, Alaska—which might be a mistake. The residents there live an average of 83.7 years, thanks in part to their diets. With few grocery stores, the people of Aleutians East Borough are accustomed to hunting and fishing for their meals. Their clean diets just might be adding years to their lives. Studies show that the more healthy food you eat, the longer you’re expected to live. Even focusing on just one healthy meal per day can cut your risk of premature death by as much as 8 to 17%.

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Wide open landscape, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas, USA
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Presidio County, Texas

Residents of Presidio County have a median lifespan of 83.7 years and boast a tight-knit community. Those close relationships may be keeping this predominantly Hispanic community healthier. According to the longest running study of adult health and happiness in the world, published in a January 2023 book, The Good Life, the people most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. The residents also have access to Texas’s largest state park, Big Bend Ranch, with year-round opportunities for hiking and biking.

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Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Marine Sgt. Russ Mullins, left, talks with fishermen who inadvertently boated too close to passing orca whales in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. The combination of boats and whales has state and federal authorities worried, especially this year, now that the Southern Resident pod of killer whales has four new calves. By federal and state law, boaters are required to stay 200 yards parallel from the orcas and give them 400 yards in front
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San Juan County, Washington

This seaside county can thank its low-key lifestyle for the residents’ median lifespan of 83.7 years. Fishing and shrimping are favorite pastimes, and so is volunteering. Many of San Juan’s residents are involved with charities and nonprofits. According to a meta-analysis in Psychology and Aging, older adults who volunteered reduced their risk of death by 47 percent. Volunteering not only provides crucial social interaction, but it also provides a sense of purpose. Check out more Science-Backed Reasons Volunteering Is Actually a Powerful Way to Feel Healthier.

Excavated kivas, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, USA, America
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Los Alamos County, New Mexico

Home to Los Alamos National Laboratory, the county attracts well-educated residents who also love the outdoor lifestyle. Residents here can expect to live to 83.5 years, thanks in part to their higher levels of education. The area is also home to Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and two national parks, giving residents the chance to ski and hike whenever they like. Staying active every day is strongly linked to living longer. Even walking briskly once per day can add several years to your life.

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Top view Grand Prismatic spring from Fairy Falls trail , Midway Gryser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Teton County, Wyoming

It would be difficult to not stay fit in Teton County, home to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park. Residents can ski and hike in the fresh mountain air, boosting the median lifespan to 83.5 years. Hosting these popular travel destinations also means the county stays affluent, and wealthy Americans can expect to live up to 15 years longer than those living in poverty.

flowering Blooming Purple wreath (Petrea volubilis) on pergola, Naples Botanical Garden

Collier County, Florida

Residents here can likely credit their access to health care for their median lifespan of 83.4 years. The NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Florida, is one of the best in the nation. Not only do the doctors and health services rank high, but even the hospital cafeterias offer better options than the typical burgers and fries. According to a study in Social Science and Medicine, having access to quality health care can increase your odds of living longer by as much as 22 to 68%.