But here’s the thing. The United States isn’t uniformly underperforming in life expectancy. The county with the highest life-expectancy in the U.S. for males is Fairfax County, Va., where males live 81.67 years. That’s better than the life expectancy of Japan and Switzerland, which are atop the list for worldwide longevity.
This is the second troubling aspect of the report: There’s a huge disparity between the country’s highest- and lowest-performing areas. For men, the difference in longevity in the top and lowest counties is 17.77 years. For women, that number is 12.37 years. Progress in national longevity can be attributed to increases in the highest-performing counties (and mainly among men). “Many counties have made no progress,” the report states, “or for the period 1993 to 2002, there have been declines for females in several hundred counties.”