(STACKER/WJBF) — 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.

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 and highest life expectancy in Georgia and South Carolina. From there, WJBF narrowed down the list to include only the counties in the CSRA.

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.

Shortest Life Expectancy in Georgia

Richmond County

  • Stacker Ranking: #30
  • Average life expectancy: 73.2 years (4.1 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #124
    • Length of life rank: #139
    • Quality of life rank: #103

Warren County

  • Stacker Ranking: #25
  • Average life expectancy: 73.1 years (4.2 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #152
    • Length of life rank: #154
    • Quality of life rank: #152

McDuffie County

  • Stacker Ranking: #25
  • Average life expectancy: 73.1 years (4.2 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #146
    • Length of life rank: #153
    • Quality of life rank: #128

Burke County

  • Stacker Ranking: #20
  • Average life expectancy: 73 years (4.3 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #143
    • Length of life rank: #146
    • Quality of life rank: #123

Emanuel County

  • Stacker Ranking: #18
  • Average life expectancy: 72.8 years (4.5 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #94
    • Length of life rank: #96
    • Quality of life rank: #100

Hancock County

  • Stacker Ranking: #10
  • Average life expectancy: 72.3 years (5.0 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #159
    • Length of life rank: #157
    • Quality of life rank: #159

Jefferson County

  • Stacker Ranking: #8
  • Average life expectancy: 71.9 years (5.4 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #137
    • Length of life rank: #131
    • Quality of life rank: #138

Longest Life Expectancy in Georgia

Lincoln County

  • Stacker Ranking: #30
  • Average life expectancy: 77.9 years (0.6 more than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #42
    • Length of life rank: #25
    • Quality of life rank: #61

Columbia County

  • Stacker Ranking: #10
  • Average life expectancy: 80.1 years (2.8 more than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #6
    • Length of life rank: #7
    • Quality of life rank: #5

Shortest Life Expectancy in South Carolina

Aiken County

  • Stacker Ranking: #31
  • Average life expectancy: 75.8 years (0.6 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #16
    • Length of life rank: #20
    • Quality of life rank: #14

McCormick County

  • Stacker Ranking: #15
  • Average life expectancy: 72.6 years (3.8 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #30
    • Length of life rank: #39
    • Quality of life rank: #19

Bamberg County

  • Stacker Ranking: #12
  • Average life expectancy: 72.3 years (4.1 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #34
    • Length of life rank: #34
    • Quality of life rank: #32

Barnwell County

  • Stacker Ranking: #10
  • Average life expectancy: 72 years (4.4 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #38
    • Length of life rank: #36
    • Quality of life rank: #38

Allendale County

  • Stacker Ranking: #6
  • Average life expectancy: 71.2 years (5.2 less than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #45
    • Length of life rank: #42
    • Quality of life rank: #46

Longest Life Expectancy in South Carolina

Saluda County

  • Stacker Ranking: #9
  • Average life expectancy: 77.2 years (0.8 more than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #18
    • Length of life rank: #11
    • Quality of life rank: #23

Edgefield County

  • Stacker Ranking: #2
  • Average life expectancy: 79 years (2.6 more than the statewide average)
  • Health outcomes statewide rank: #10
    • Length of life rank: #3
    • Quality of life rank: #17