Living Longer Than Most

Live long and prosper, or at least live long. Prospering is a different topic and post. Whidbey Island residents have one of the highest life expectancies in the United States. Washington is in the top ten states at 80.4 years. Congratulations! (Hawaii is best at 82.3 years.)

wikipedia / CDC

Within Washington State, Island County is the best, or San Juan County is the best. There’s some disagreement. The two of us are 1 & 2 in either case. (The study saying Island County is best dropped behind a paywall.) Island County female life expectancy 83.71 / male life expectancy 80.14 versus San Juan County female life expectancy 85.46 / male life expectancy 81.86 years (BTW One of our neighboring counties, Jefferson where Port Townsend is, is number 3. We’re a nice corner of the state.)


Within Island County it gets a bit more confusing, but that’s not much of a surprise. Drill deep enough into any such dataset and eventually get down to comparing neighborhoods, streets, houses, and bedrooms. In general, though, the south end is living longer, but parts of the north end are, too. The census area with the lowest (75.0) is also where the big box stores are in Oak Harbor. Maybe they skew the data. The place with the longest life expectancy is also the furthest south at 87.6 years. 


There’s probably nothing magical about having one of those addresses. Most people have lived in more than one place and may have moved because they had to, not because they wanted to. That confuses the data. Also, retirement communities have higher median ages and already self-select for longer lifespans.

Still, Whidbey Island has been called a healing place, a healthy place. We’re downwind of a few factories or mills, but far fewer than most. We’re more likely to get ocean air after smoky days. We live in a place that encourages being outdoors and active. And at least according to AARP, our longer lives are in one of the most liveable places. A nice combination.

Do we have a celebration for that? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe we should check to see whether we’re more likely to buy more birthday candles than most.

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