New Life for Oak Grove Cemetery

Tree limbs hang over two of the headstones in Oak Grove Cemetery on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in St. Louis County. Workers are busy removing dead trees and cleaning up the grounds. Photo by J.B. Forbes, Content Exchange

Given that a list released Tuesday put Missouri as only the 33rd best state in which to live, is it good news or bad that our life expectancy is one of the lowest in the U.S?

According to, Missouri has the 10th-lowest life expectancy of any U.S. state.

The average Missourian is projected to live 77.4 years — almost a full two years less than someone living in Illinois, who makes it to 79.1 years.

The analysis was compiled from 2018 reports by the Center for Disease Control and the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

The study shows Missouri to be high in the two biggest-killer categories — finishing at No. 11 in heart disease (Oklahoma was No. 1) and No. 12 in cancer (Kentucky was at the top).

The Show-Me sector also was ranked in the top 20 in suicides (18) and drug overdoses (20).

Oddly enough — in a state with St. Louis, a brewing legend, and Kansas City, with its active craft-beer industry — the state was only No. 37 when it came to death by liver disease.

The study mirrors the findings of the "best states" study in indicating that life is arguably better for those living in states that are generally north of us, as opposed to south.

Here are the border-state rankings: Iowa (18); Nebraska (19); Illinois (22); Kansas (30); Tennessee (43); Arkansas (44); Kentucky (45)' and Oklahoma (46).

The state with the longest life expectancy is Hawaii, at 80.1 years. The lowest belongs to Mississippi, at 74.7.

Joe Holleman • 314-340-8254

@stlsherpa on Twitter

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