US State Policies, Politics, and Life Expectancy

Source: Jennifer Karas Montez, Jason Beckfield, Julene Kemp Cooney, Jacob M. Grumbach, Mark D. Hayward, Huseyin Zeyd Koytak, Steven H. Woolf, Anna Zajacova, Milbank Quarterly, Vol 98, September 2020

Policy points:

  • Changes in US state policies since the 1970s, particularly after 2010, have played an important role in the stagnation and recent decline in US life expectancy.
  • Some US state policies appear to be key levers for improving life expectancy, such as policies on tobacco, labor, immigration, civil rights, and the environment.
  • US life expectancy is estimated to be 2.8 years longer among women and 2.1 years longer among men if all US states enjoyed the health advantages of states with more liberal policies, which would put US life expectancy on par with other high-income countries.


Are Conservative Policies Shortening American Lives?
Source: Lola Butcher, Undark, February 1, 2021

Americans have shorter lives than international peers. Some researchers now say conservative policies may be to blame.