(STACKER) – Life expectancy in the United States has generally been on the rise. Between 1960 and 2019, the life expectancy of Americans rose by roughly a decade to the age of 79. Greater longevity can be attributed to improved health care such as diagnostic and medical advancements, as well as healthier lifestyle choices relating to diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption.


Story continues below:


Since 2020, however, life expectancy has started to decline. The opioid epidemic, COVID-19, and unintentional injuries—largely driven by drug overdoses—were the leading causes of a three-year decrease in life expectancy over the last two years. Stark disparities among certain segments of the population have also been observed. American Indians/Alaska Natives saw a life expectancy decrease of more than six years; Hispanic and Black Americans, a drop of four years; and white and Asian Americans, a decrease of about two years.

While no one single factor determines the overall health of an entire community, certain socioeconomic and environmental factors such as access to health care, substance abuse treatments, clean air, clean water, and affordable housing contribute significantly to the general health and wellbeing of the entire population.

Using 2022 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Stacker identified counties with the shortest life expectancy in New Mexico. Life expectancy measures the average number of years from birth a person can expect to live, and is calculated based on the number of deaths in a given time period and the average number of people at risk of dying during that period. Counties with unreliable or insufficient data were excluded from the analysis. Mortality data came from the National Vital Statistics System.

#19. Colfax County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 76.9 years (same as statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #30
— Length of life rank: #26
— Quality of life rank: #31

#19. Union County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 76.9 years (same as statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #7
— Length of life rank: #6
— Quality of life rank: #10

#18. Grant County

– Average life expectancy: 76.8 years (0.1 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #14
— Length of life rank: #13
— Quality of life rank: #17

#16. Torrance County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 76.5 years (0.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #26
— Length of life rank: #24
— Quality of life rank: #26

#16. Valencia County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 76.5 years (0.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #15
— Length of life rank: #14
— Quality of life rank: #14

#15. Roosevelt County

– Average life expectancy: 76.4 years (0.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #11
— Length of life rank: #11
— Quality of life rank: #11

#14. Curry County

– Average life expectancy: 76.1 years (0.8 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #10
— Length of life rank: #7
— Quality of life rank: #16

#13. Guadalupe County

– Average life expectancy: 75.7 years (1.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #8
— Length of life rank: #16
— Quality of life rank: #3

#12. Hidalgo County

– Average life expectancy: 75.6 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #22
— Length of life rank: #5
— Quality of life rank: #29

#11. Socorro County

– Average life expectancy: 75.5 years (1.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #24
— Length of life rank: #25
— Quality of life rank: #24

#10. Luna County

– Average life expectancy: 74.9 years (2.0 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #21
— Length of life rank: #12
— Quality of life rank: #25

#9. Chaves County

– Average life expectancy: 74.5 years (2.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #19
— Length of life rank: #23
— Quality of life rank: #18

#7. Cibola County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 74.4 years (2.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #29
— Length of life rank: #27
— Quality of life rank: #30

#7. Lea County (Tie)

– Average life expectancy: 74.4 years (2.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #16
— Length of life rank: #15
— Quality of life rank: #15

#6. Eddy County

– Average life expectancy: 74.3 years (2.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #13
— Length of life rank: #22
— Quality of life rank: #9

#5. San Juan County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (2.9 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #27
— Length of life rank: #29
— Quality of life rank: #23

#4. Quay County

– Average life expectancy: 73.4 years (3.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #20
— Length of life rank: #28
— Quality of life rank: #2

#3. Rio Arriba County

– Average life expectancy: 72.6 years (4.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #31
— Length of life rank: #31
— Quality of life rank: #28

#2. Sierra County

– Average life expectancy: 72.1 years (4.8 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #28
— Length of life rank: #30
— Quality of life rank: #20

#1. McKinley County

– Average life expectancy: 67.9 years (9.0 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #32
— Length of life rank: #32
— Quality of life rank: #32