Places in America Where People Live the Longest
One of the healthiest choices you can make is where you live—so you just might want to pick one of these counties.
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 report from realtor.com. 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.
Billings County, North Dakota
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Residents can expect to live to 84, thanks to their active lifestyle and the county’s clean air. This rural area 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. Daily city stress can shorten life by causing hormonal, cardiac, and immune dysfunction. Reducing stress by avoiding crazy commutes and large crowds helps keep these residents calm and healthy. Here are 15 more everyday habits that could add five years to your life.
Marin County, California
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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. Make sure you avoid these other everyday habits that could shorten your life.
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 percent 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.
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 percent. Get started with these 12 anti-aging foods that might add years to your life.
Presidio County, Texas
Many Southern states tend to get a bad rap for healthy lifestyles, but this part of Texas is an exception. 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. Studies show that having close friends can improve your health as much as quitting smoking. In fact, lonely people are almost twice as likely to die from heart disease as those with close relationships.The residents also have access to Texas’s largest state park, Big Bend Ranch, with year-round opportunities for hiking and biking.
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 these other 18 simple rules to follow if you want to live to 100.
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. Not sure where to start? Check out the best workouts for every age.
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. Ready to step up your financial plan? Don’t make these 15 mistakes that will ruin your retirement.
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 percent. Check out these other 50 easy habits that could help you live longer.