There's a two-decade life expectancy gap in the U.S.

Posted at 12:44 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 12:44:58-04

Where you live could affect your life span by as much as 20 years, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at counties across the U.S. and found the highest life expectancy was almost 87 years old. The lowest was about 67 years old.

Counties in North and South Dakota saw the lowest life expectancies, and the hardest hit communities included Native American reservations.

People in counties in eastern Kentucky, the lower half of Mississippi and the southwestern part of West Virginia also face earlier deaths.

The highest life expectancies were found in central Colorado.

Socioeconomic factors like poverty, education and unemployment had a big impact on projected life spans in the study.

But health factors like obesity and smoking had the biggest impact.

Those were the main reasons Americans died young, which brought averages down more.

Unfortunately, the life-span gap depending on where you live in America is getting wider. The researchers say by next year, the difference will likely be over 20 years.