Life expectancy is defined as the number of years that the person is expected to live, depending on mortality patterns that existed in the year that he was born. Looking and comparing life expectancies at different time periods and regions, it’s possible to indicate the overall quality of life of a specific population and a specific period of time.
Alaska life expectancy among both genders has significantly increased during the last 40 years: while Alaska Natives were expected to live for about 65.3 years in the 1980s, now their life expectancy is 70.7 years. The life expectancy of the white population of Alaska has also increased, from 73.9 to 78.0 years. This means that there still is a big gap of 7.3 years between the average life expectancy of the native and the white population.
Native females of Alaska have always had a higher life expectancy than native males. However, the gap between the life expectancies of the two genders has gradually decreased every decade from the 1980s. While in the 1980s the Alaska life expectancy of females and males was 72.2 and 61.6 years respectively, by 2013 it became 72.5 for females and 70.9 for males. Therefore, the gap decreased from 10.6 years to only 1.6. It’s interesting that, while the male life expectancy constantly grew, the female life expectancy declined after reaching 73.7 years in the 1990s.
Depending on the tribal health region, the Alaska life expectancy varies. In the Norton Sound region, its lowest with 69.3 years, while in the Southeast it’s highest with 73.8 years.
Including both the native and the white population of the State in the ranking, Alaska is 33rd, if we were to rank the States of America by life expectancy, from highest to lowest. The leader among the States is Minnesota where the life expectancy is 78.7 years, and Mississippi gets the last place, with a life expectancy of only 71.8 years.