UTopiAH. This is Part of a series for comparing census based life expectancy and death rate tables, ranking states by how long we live, from 1960 to 2015. Included are medical conditions rating Utah’s #1 health rankings. After 2012, state rankings are now correlated to voting in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, with Blue states on top, and Red states assigned to the bottom. Utopia is Sir Thomas More’s (1516) perfect place to live, and with a slight variation in spelling, perfectly describes Utah.

Part 15. How do 24/7WallStreet and MSN report life expectancy among states? MSN and 24/7 moved Blue states into the top quintile, and Red states into the bottom quintile.

Utah has a number one track record among all states for health. Specifically, from 1960 to 1990, Utah’s rank for life expectancy climbed from 6th to 1st , the best, citing the US Census, as of 2006.

Psalm 144:15

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

For fifty years, life expectancy, was based on the census taken every ten years. States were rank ordered based on the longevity of their residents’ lives. Longevity has been the basis for 1)commercial uses, 2)health programs, 3)governmental budgets, and 4) forward planning. 1)Commercial uses include a) annuity tables for retirement investments – how long the annuity will be needed to provide a life time income? and hence its cost; b) life insurance tables for payment of death benefits and when death benefits will be due, and hence the premium for the insurance; c) population growth, long term care. 2) Health programs use include age related maladies and hospitalization. 3) Governmental budgets include Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act so called Obamacare, development, public health, education, transportation, and national security. 4) Forward planning includes water resources, urban planning, social services, and family growth,.   Progress or decline in life expectancy, takes decades.   For instance noting that Utah’s life expectancy ranked 6th in 1960, Utah climbed to 2nd in 1970, back to 3rd in 1980, and topped out to 1st by 1990. It is even harder to move among ranks the larger the population in the State. California’s population is ten times Utah’s. California’s life expectancy ranked 19th in 1960 census, climbed to 14th in 1970, 18th in 1980, and dropped back to 32nd in 1990 (calculated in 2004). Sifting through hundreds of millions of records took 14 years from 1990 to 2004.


Furthermore, as of 2006 for the 1990 census California’s life expectancy was ranked 32nd of 51 (states and the District), Massachusetts 14th, Hawaii was unranked for lack of data.

So imagine my curiosity when the MSN.COM gave prominent display to a claim by a University of Washington research group that Hawaii has the longest life expectancy and that Utah had dropped out of the top quintile, plunged to 13th, citing the year 2014.   California had climbed from 32nd to 3rd in 24 years, from 1990 to 2014, quite an accomplishment for California.

Does state ranking of life expectancy have significant political implications? They must think so. It also happens, that the 11 healthiest states, as reported by MSN.com, and as of 2014, just so happened to have all voted Blue in the 2016 election (over half of the 20 BLUE states that did so vote Blue). The state ranking death rate list was compiled in 2017 and 2018, after the election results were in.   These 11 Blue states all have legalized marijuana (29 states listed, 21 have not legalized).   The first Red state, as to longest life expectancy, after the 2016 election, was North Dakota at 12th longest life expectancy, followed in 13th place by Utah. This supposed ranking of life expectancy longevity has been picked up by Wikipedia, 24/7 Wall St.

Statistically, the 2/5ths states (20 of 50) voting Blue in 2016 should have been randomly spread thru the life expectancy table as follows – 4 states in the top quintile (top 10), and 4 in each of the rest of the quintiles, (to wit, 4 states in the ranks 1 to 10, 4 in the ranks from 11 to 20, 4 from 21 to 30, 4 from 31 to 40, and 4 from 41 to 50). Likewise, if random placement applied the Red states, (30 of 50) the Red states would have had 6 Red states in each quintile. Election results, red and blue, in past census longevity results are in other Parts in this series. It would sort of be like putting 20 Blue marbles in a jar with 30 Red marbles, then pulling them out one by one, your first 11 marbles should be 4 Blue, and 7 Red.   As you take out more Blue marbles, the ratio of remaining Red marbles increases, so if you have pulled 10 Blue marbles out, the chance of pulling a blue marble out with 10 blue marbles and 30 Red marbles remaining, is about one in four (10 of 40). Or, imagine a lottery ticket where the first eleven numbers have to be from the pool of 50, selected at random. Or roulette with 30 red and 20 blue (instead of black) slots? I think roulette has only 36 slots, not 50, but the concept is the same. What are the chances of covering Blue 11 times in a row, but filling up each Blue slot as it is taken, so it cannot be used again? Or put another way, I think the odds of the top eleven States in longevity being all blue are less than one in six hundred and fifty thousand (650,000). This is far beyond coincidence.   The first and last quintile state rankings must be specifically correlated to the Election 2016 results.

Other groups that keep statistics are the US Census, Center for Disease Control, US Health Foundation, Kaiser, and WHO.


Due to improvements in medicine, sanitation, and other public health advances, life expectancy in most of the developed world has increased nearly every year over the past century. Despite this trend, life expectancy in fallen in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

While Americans enjoyed the highest life expectancy of any OECD nation in the 1960s, the U.S. health advantage began to wane in the 1980s and eventually fell below the OECD average in 1998. The U.S. average life expectancy at birth today is 78.7 years, 1.5 years lower than the OECD average.

Relative to other affluent nations, Americans report worse birth outcomes, more injuries and homicides, higher teenage pregnancy rates, and higher incidences of HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Life expectancy also varies heavily across the United States. While life expectancy in some states is greater than the OECD average, in others it is on par with developing countries like Malaysia, Uruguay, and Iran. Differences in life expectancy throughout the United States largely parallel differences in socioeconomic conditions, like income and education, and risk factors like smoking, inactivity, and obesity.

To determine the states with the longest and shortest life expectancy, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2014 life expectancy at birth figures provided by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global research center affiliated with the University of Washington.

Red State – Republican 2016 electionBlue State – Democratic 2016 election
 50. Hawaii (B) (Marijuana legal 2000)

> Life expectancy at birth: 81.2 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 22.3% (2nd lowest)

> Smoking rate: 14.1% (8th lowest)

> Median household income: $74,511 (5th highest)


 49. Minnesota (B) (Marijuana legal 2014)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.9 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 27.0% (16th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 16.2% (19th lowest)

> Median household income: $65,599 (13th highest)


 48. California (B) (Marijuana legal 1993 2006)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.8 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 22.7% (3rd lowest)

> Smoking rate: 11.7% (2nd lowest)

> Median household income: $67,739 (9th highest)


 47. Connecticut (B) (Marijuana legal 2012)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.6 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 25.1% (9th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 13.5% (3rd lowest)

> Median household income: $73,433 (6th highest)


 46. Massachusetts   (B) (Marijuana legal 2012, 2013)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 24.1% (5th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 14.0% (6th lowest)

> Median household income: $75,297 (4th highest)


 45. New York (B) (Marijuana legal 2014)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.4 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 24.6% (7th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 15.2% (13th lowest)

> Median household income: $62,909 (14th highest)


 44. Vermont   (B) (Marijuana legal 2004)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 24.2% (6th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 16.0% (18th lowest)

> Median household income: $57,677 (20th highest)


 43. Colorado   (B) (Marijuana legal 2000)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 20.2% (the lowest)

> Smoking rate: 15.6% (15th lowest)

> Median household income: $65,685 (12th highest)


 42. New Hampshire   (B) (Marijuana legal 2013)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.2 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 27.9% (22nd lowest)

> Smoking rate: 15.9% (17th lowest)

> Median household income: $70,936 (7th highest)

 41. New Jersey   (B) (Marijuana legal 2009)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 25.6% (11th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 13.5% (4th lowest)

> Median household income: $76,126 (3rd highest)

 40. Washington   (B) (Marijuana legal 1998, 2010)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 27.2% (18th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 15.0% (9th lowest)

> Median household income: $67,106 (10th highest)

39. North Dakota   (R) (Marijuana legal 2016)

> Life expectancy at birth: 80.0 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 31.1% (14th highest)

> Smoking rate: 18.7% (20th highest)

> Median household income: $60,656 (17th highest)


38. Utah (R) (No Marijuana)

> Life expectancy at birth: 79.9 yrs.

> Obesity rate: 25.4% (10th lowest)

> Smoking rate: 9.1% (the lowest)

> Median household income: $65,977 (11th highest)

37. Wisconsin (R) (No Marijuana)

> Life expectancy at birth: 79.8 yrs.
> Obesity rate: 30.4% (17th highest)
> Smoking rate: 17.3% (23rd lowest)
> Median household income: $56,811 (24th highest)


36. RHODE ISLAND (B) (Marijuana legal 2007)

> Life expectancy at birth: 79.8 yrs.
> Obesity rate: 27.1% (17th lowest)
> Smoking rate: 15.5% (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $60,596 (18th highest)




The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.


July 2007: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) launches with the goal of providing an impartial, evidence-based picture of global health trends to inform the work of policymakers, researchers, and funders. Main supporters are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the state of Washington.

September 2008: First Post-Graduate Fellows arrive at IHME. Fellows have since come from numerous countries, including Kenya, Nepal, and Brazil. * Japanese International Cooperation Agency’s Research Institute, * Sri Lanka, and * Botswana.

December 2008: IHME’s assessment of diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus vaccination programs is published in The Lancet, challenging accepted numbers and paving the way for new approaches to track the effectiveness of such programs.

April 2009: IHME releases initial work on risk factors in PLOS Medicine. Included are estimates of the impact of risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, high blood sugar, and overweight/obesity in the US.

July 2009: First Financing Global Health (FGH) report is published, tracking more than $200 billion in public and private contributions to public health.

IHME © 2018 University of Washington



The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington analyzed the performance of all 3,142 US counties or county-equivalents in terms of life expectancy at birth, mortality rates for select causes, alcohol use, smoking prevalence, obesity prevalence, and recommended physical activity using novel small area estimation techniques and the most up-to-date county-level information.

Explore more results using the interactive US Health Map data visualization (http://vizhub.healthdata.org/subnational/usa ).



Cause-of-death: Based on medical information—including injury diagnoses and external causes of injury—that is entered on death certificates filed in the United States. This information is classified and coded in accordance with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) (2).

Death rates: For 2015, based on population estimates for July 1, 2015, that are consistent with the April 1, 2010, census. These population estimates (as well as population figures for the 2010 census) are available on the National Center for Health Statistics’ (NCHS) website (3). Age-adjusted death rates are useful when comparing different populations because they remove the potential bias that can occur when the populations being compared have different age structures. NCHS uses the direct method of standardization; see Technical Notes of “Deaths: Final Data for 2014” (1) for more discussion.

Life expectancy: The expected average number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex , which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x. Life expectancy estimates for 2015 are based on a methodology first implemented with 2008 final mortality data (4). Life expectancies for 2014 were revised using updated Medicare data; therefore, figures may differ from those previously published (5).

Data source and methods

The data shown in this report reflect information collected by NCHS for 2014 and 2015 from death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and compiled into national data known as the National Vital Statistics System. Death rates shown in this report are calculated based on postcensal population estimates as of July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, which are consistent with the April 1, 2010, census. Differences between death rates were evaluated using a two-tailed z test.

National Center for Health Statistics

           The above NVSS explains that the longevity was changed in 2008, to favor Blue state over Red states.

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