Hawaii and Oklahoma

"We ranked all 50 states by..." Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Want to live longer? Statistically speaking, live in Hawaii.

And if you can’t live there, live in California, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

That’s the order of the top 10 states, ranked by life expectancy, according to new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (.pdf) on Thursday. 

The bottom 10 states, ranked 41 to 50: Missouri, South Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi, followed by West Virginia in last place.

Obviously, this is statistical data, not strictly causative — meaning, I’m not sure you’d automatically add years to your life by moving to Hawaii or lose some by moving to West Virginia. By and large however, your neighbors would be older.

Still, I felt okay sharing this, since it’s based on government data and “annual complete period life tables,” as opposed to some media company’s subjective guesstimate.

There are a lot of the latter kinds of surveys out there, as I’m sure you’ve seen. Occasionally I’ve picked up on them and written about them for different places. 

My favorite, which I’ve mentioned here in the past, was on Inc.com: 

A Canadian Company Ranked All 50 U.S. States by How Polite They Are. Here's the List

The story was that a Toronto-based cloud accounting firm called FreshBooks searched for words like “please” and “thank you” in 250,000 invoices that they handled for American clients. As I put it then:

No, this is not exactly a double-blind study in a peer-reviewed journal; admittedly, it's more of a publicity stunt. But it piqued my interest.

Also, I just thought it was funny because the company is from Canada—the land of my mom's birth, in fact—which has a reputation for being the most polite country on the planet. 

"I think it comes from the fact that we say 'sorry' all the time," FreshBooks CEO Mike McDerment told me in an extremely polite voicemail message. 

The thing went viral, driven largely by the fact that Oklahoma was ranked most polite, and every TV news program, radio station, and local news site in Oklahoma shared it. Heck, the governor of Oklahoma posted it.

Now, I get pitched so often, by so many different PR firms and websites about their new “we ranked all 50 states and here’s what we found” articles, that I could easily create a website dedicated to nothing but 50-state lists, and fill it every day.

Thus, my bar is a bit higher. Like earlier this week my attention was drawn to U.S. News & World Report, which ranked all 50 states by — well, by everything, simply saying that they’d figured out the best and worst states in the USA.

They have a methodology, sort of, and apparently they’ve been doing this for a few years. But, I wasn’t convinced, so I didn’t write it up here or anywhere else. 

Washington State was their top state if you’re interested, but like sausage and laws, I don’t really want to go digging through how they made that determination. 

Besides, it’s kind of odd to try to subjectively characterize an entire state — coupling together, say the people who live in Manhattan with those who live in say, Watertown, N.Y., as if they had a lot in common (other than a common accident of political geography).

Which brings us back to the CDC, and living longer. I suppose a lot of us still aren’t going anywhere just yet. But if you needed an excuse to head to Hawaii, I’m happy to have obliged.


Actually: Feedback/comment idea. We have lots of readers in every state and countries around the world now. If you care to share, what’s the 1 thing your state (or province, or city, or country), rank number 1 for? The comments link is just below.

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7 other things worth your time

  • “President Joe Biden marked a year since the beginning of the coronavirus ‘shutdown’ with a prime-time speech Thursday night where he announced he would direct states to make all adult Americans eligible to get vaccinated by May 1. He also predicted a possible return to some semblance of normalcy by the Fourth of July and detailed several more measures aimed at speeding up vaccinations across the country.” (ABC News)

  • “President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill Thursday, a day earlier than expected. ... Shortly after, the White House laid out an accelerated timeline to get the new stimulus payments out the door.” (CNET)

  • For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic seniors who live in group communities, like assisted living, will be able to physically embrace their loved ones. The CDC and CMS approved fully-vaccinated seniors in group housing to hug their loved ones, according to a new set of guidelines. (CBS Local)

  • “New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was under renewed political pressure on Thursday after the speaker of the state Assembly authorized the judiciary committee to begin an impeachment investigation and dozens of Democratic New York state lawmakers called for Cuomo to resign.” (CNN)

  • After Oprah Winfrey's tell-all interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry aired on Sunday night, social media users came up with another idea, calling for the legendary TV host to sit down next with Britney Spears. (Fox News)

  • “A trove of ornate jewelry, including a silver diadem, suggest a woman buried nearly 4,000 years ago in what is modern-day Spain was a ruler of surrounding lands who may have commanded the might of a state, according to a study published today in the journal Antiquity. The discoveries raise new questions about the role of women in early Bronze Age Europe, and challenge the idea that state power is almost exclusively a product of male-dominated societies, say the researchers.” (National Geographic)

  • Court to Jeff Bezos: Yes, you get attorney’s fees to cover costs you incurred in defending an unsuccessful defamation suit brought by your girlfriend’s brother. However, hiring a total of seven partners and 11 associates who ran up 2,070 billable hours wasn’t reasonable. (Business Insider)


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