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10 counties to live the longest

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

My 76-year-old neighbor, a widower whose wife died two years ago, told me today that he was marrying a 74-year-old widow.

The two of them spent a winter vacation in Florida and bought a house together while they were there. Life in retirement, my neighbor says, is "beautiful."

My neighbor and his soon-to-be bride, who incidentally just bought a new Harley to match his, are examples of an important retirement planning trend: The disparity in life spans between the number of older women and older men is shrinking, with men living longer and women barely holding their own.

The number of U.S. men between the ages of 75 and 84 increased by 12.2 percent between 2000 and 2010. The number of women in that category only increased by 1.4 percent. In some parts of the country, women are living shorter lives than they did two decades ago, according to longevity experts from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who made presentations at the Association of Health care Journalists last week.

Major culprits shortening women's life spans are an increase in smoking and excessive drinking, as well as lousy health habits such as obesity and high blood pressure linked to a sedentary life, according to Ali Mokdad, the head of the research team that prepared this report. "An estimated 54,000 women’s lives could be saved annually by simply reducing salt consumption," Mokdad said.

Here are the 10 counties where men live the longest, followed by the 10 counties where women live the longest:

10 Counties Where Men Live the Longest

  1. Santa Clara, Calif., 80.6.
  2. Gunnison, Colo., 80.7.
  3. Pitkin, Colo., 80.7.
  4. Collier, Fla., 80.7.
  5. Los Alamos, N.M., 80.7.
  6. Island, Wash., 80.9.
  7. Douglas, Colo., 81.
  8. Fairfax, Va., 81.3.
  9. Montgomery, Md., 81.4.
  10. Marin, Calif., 81.6.

10 Counties where Women Live Longest

  1. New York, N.Y., 84.2.
  2. San Francisco, Calif., 84.4.
  3. Queens, N.Y., 84.4.
  4. Honolulu, Hawaii, 84.5.
  5. Santa Clara, Calif., 84.6.
  6. Stearns, Minn., 84.6.
  7. San Mateo, Calif., 84.9.
  8. Montgomery, Md., 85.
  9. Marin, Calif., 85.1.
  10. Collier, Fla., 85.8.

Maybe we should all pair up, pack up and move.

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