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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.