Where you live has a deep impact on life expectancy—as much as nearly eight years. And state policies are the culprit.
A new study from Syracuse University looked at state life expectancies from 1970 to 2014 and cross-referenced them with 18 of those states’ policies on topics ranging from abortion to guns to labor law, while controlling for population differences such as income and age. The researchers found that 10 of the 18 policy categories strongly predict life expectancy, and that in all cases except for marijuana laws, more liberal policies predict longer lives, particularly on tobacco, immigration, civil rights, labor laws (including minimum wage) and the environment. Labor laws alone, when in line with blue states’ policies, add one year onto lives.