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The Top 5 States Where People Live Longest (and Top 5 with the Lowest Life Expectancies)

24/7 Wall St. Logo By Alexander E.M. Hess of 24/7 Wall St. | Slide 1 of 11

The Top 5 States Where People Live Longest (and Top 5 with the Lowest Life Expectancies)

The United States has a health problem. Across the country, life expectancies routinely fail to meet the standards set by other developed nations. Differences in life expectancy between the United States and other developed nations, such as Switzerland and Japan, are dramatic.

However, some states have closed the gap with these nations. In both Hawaii and Minnesota, a resident born in 2010 could expect to live 81 years on average. In 12 states, the life expectancy at birth was 80 years or more.

The states with the longest life expectancies have concurrently low mortality rates, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Across the United States, the age-adjusted mortality rate was 732.8 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012. However, in eight of the states with the highest life expectancies the mortality rate was less than 700 deaths for every 100,000 residents. In Hawaii, the age-adjusted mortality rate was just 586.5 per 100,000, the lowest in the country.

Access to health coverage is among the important factors that promotes good health — and as a result leads to longer lives. In most of the states with the longest life expectancies a far lower percentage of the population was uninsured relative to the nation as a whole. While 14.5% of Americans did not have health care coverage last year, only 3.7% of Massachusetts residents did not. In Hawaii and Vermont the uninsured rates was also less than half the national rate.

One major problem facing the United States is the extreme disparity in life expectancies. In Mississippi, the life expectancy at birth in was just 75 years as of 2010, the lowest in the nation. In both Hawaii and Minnesota, a resident born in 2010 could expect to live 81 years on average, six years more than in Mississippi.

The consequences of a shortened life expectancy are severe. Mortality rates are highest in the states with the lowest life expectancies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In four of these states, the 2012 age-adjusted mortality rate was greater than 900 deaths per 100,000 people. By comparison, the nationwide rate was 732.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

Click ahead for the top five states where people live the longest, then visit 24/7 Wall St. for the complete report.

© Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

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