Summit County has the highest life expectancy in America, study shows

Breckenridge Sunset
A sunset over Breckenridge. / Summit County, Colorado website

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Want to live longer? Try Summit County, Colorado.

The study titled “Inequalities in Life Expectancy Among U.S. Counties, 1980 to 2014,” was published Monday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It says Summit’s expected longevity was 86.83 years in 2014, which is the latest year that data is available.

Summit County
Summit County has the highest life expectancy in the U.S., followed by nearby Pitkin and Eagle counties. / Journal of the American Medical Association

Summit is home to popular communities including Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Blue River. It’s also where Copper Mountain and Keystone are located.

Neighboring ski country counties Pitkin and Eagle followed closely at second and third nationwide with life expectancies of 86.52 and 85.94, respectively.

The worst performing areas were the Deep South and Appalachia. For example, the study shows 8 of the 10 counties with the biggest decrease in life expectancy were in Kentucky.

The county with the worst life expectancy in the country was Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota, where the typical person’s lifespan, 66.81, is more than 20 years less than it is in Summit and other high-performing areas in Colorado.

Researchers identified five primary risk factors that they say accounted for 74 percent of the variations in longevity: high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity and obesity.

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