Life expectancy in the United States has generally been on the rise. Between 1960 and 2019, the life expectancy of Americans rose by roughly a decade to the age of 79. Greater longevity can be attributed to improved health care such as diagnostic and medical advancements, as well as healthier lifestyle choices relating to diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Since 2020, however, life expectancy has started to decline. The opioid epidemic, COVID-19, and unintentional injuries—largely driven by drug overdoses—were the leading causes of a three-year decrease in life expectancy over the last two years.

Stark disparities among certain segments of the population have also been observed. American Indians/Alaska Natives saw a life expectancy decrease of more than six years; Hispanic and Black Americans, a drop of four years; and white and Asian Americans, a decrease of about two years.

While no one single factor determines the overall health of an entire community, certain socioeconomic and environmental factors such as access to health care, substance abuse treatments, clean air, clean water, and affordable housing contribute significantly to the general health and well-being of the entire population.

Using 2022 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Stacker identified counties with the shortest life expectancy in Tennessee.

Life expectancy measures the average number of years from birth a person can expect to live, and is calculated based on the number of deaths in a given time period and the average number of people at risk of dying during that period. Counties with unreliable or insufficient data were excluded from the analysis. Mortality data came from the National Vital Statistics System.

#48. Hamblen County

– Average life expectancy: 74.1 years (1.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #46
— Length of life rank: #50
— Quality of life rank: #46

#48. Bedford County

– Average life expectancy: 74.1 years (1.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #42
— Length of life rank: #46
— Quality of life rank: #43

#48. Coffee County

– Average life expectancy: 74.1 years (1.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #35
— Length of life rank: #40
— Quality of life rank: #38

#43. Johnson County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #69
— Length of life rank: #61
— Quality of life rank: #82

#43. Giles County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #52
— Length of life rank: #38
— Quality of life rank: #68

#43. Decatur County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #44
— Length of life rank: #54
— Quality of life rank: #39

#43. Humphreys County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #39
— Length of life rank: #44
— Quality of life rank: #40

#43. Overton County

– Average life expectancy: 74 years (1.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #29
— Length of life rank: #22
— Quality of life rank: #35

#39. Jackson County

– Average life expectancy: 73.9 years (1.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #63
— Length of life rank: #56
— Quality of life rank: #78

#39. Perry County

– Average life expectancy: 73.9 years (1.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #61
— Length of life rank: #39
— Quality of life rank: #83

#39. Hawkins County

– Average life expectancy: 73.9 years (1.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #60
— Length of life rank: #68
— Quality of life rank: #53

#39. Greene County

– Average life expectancy: 73.9 years (1.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #51
— Length of life rank: #55
— Quality of life rank: #49

#37. Rhea County

– Average life expectancy: 73.8 years (1.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #40
— Length of life rank: #48
— Quality of life rank: #36

#37. Cheatham County

– Average life expectancy: 73.8 years (1.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #31
— Length of life rank: #52
— Quality of life rank: #21

#33. Union County

– Average life expectancy: 73.7 years (1.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #80
— Length of life rank: #80
— Quality of life rank: #81

#33. Monroe County

– Average life expectancy: 73.7 years (1.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #68
— Length of life rank: #64
— Quality of life rank: #75

#33. McMinn County

– Average life expectancy: 73.7 years (1.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #59
— Length of life rank: #66
— Quality of life rank: #54

#33. Polk County

– Average life expectancy: 73.7 years (1.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #54
— Length of life rank: #47
— Quality of life rank: #60

#31. Macon County

– Average life expectancy: 73.6 years (1.7 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #58
— Length of life rank: #51
— Quality of life rank: #73

#31. Lincoln County

– Average life expectancy: 73.6 years (1.7 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #48
— Length of life rank: #65
— Quality of life rank: #26

#30. Lawrence County

– Average life expectancy: 73.5 years (1.8 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #50
— Length of life rank: #41
— Quality of life rank: #56

#28. Hardeman County

– Average life expectancy: 73.4 years (1.9 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #89
— Length of life rank: #72
— Quality of life rank: #93

#28. Clay County

– Average life expectancy: 73.4 years (1.9 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #87
— Length of life rank: #67
— Quality of life rank: #92

#27. DeKalb County

– Average life expectancy: 73.3 years (2.0 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #67
— Length of life rank: #70
— Quality of life rank: #70

#24. Lauderdale County

– Average life expectancy: 73.2 years (2.1 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #90
— Length of life rank: #59
— Quality of life rank: #95

#24. Lewis County

– Average life expectancy: 73.2 years (2.1 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #73
— Length of life rank: #79
— Quality of life rank: #69

#24. Henry County

– Average life expectancy: 73.2 years (2.1 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #71
— Length of life rank: #74
— Quality of life rank: #66

#22. Claiborne County

– Average life expectancy: 73.1 years (2.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #79
— Length of life rank: #81
— Quality of life rank: #74

#22. Cannon County

– Average life expectancy: 73.1 years (2.2 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #72
— Length of life rank: #87
— Quality of life rank: #25

#18. Scott County

– Average life expectancy: 73 years (2.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #84
— Length of life rank: #84
— Quality of life rank: #85

#18. Grainger County

– Average life expectancy: 73 years (2.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #76
— Length of life rank: #78
— Quality of life rank: #76

#18. Fentress County

– Average life expectancy: 73 years (2.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #70
— Length of life rank: #75
— Quality of life rank: #65

#18. Carroll County

– Average life expectancy: 73 years (2.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #47
— Length of life rank: #58
— Quality of life rank: #32

#16. Hickman County

– Average life expectancy: 72.9 years (2.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #66
— Length of life rank: #83
— Quality of life rank: #42

#16. Crockett County

– Average life expectancy: 72.9 years (2.4 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #62
— Length of life rank: #71
— Quality of life rank: #45

#15. Gibson County

– Average life expectancy: 72.8 years (2.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #57
— Length of life rank: #62
— Quality of life rank: #44

#13. Hardin County

– Average life expectancy: 72.5 years (2.8 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #82
— Length of life rank: #86
— Quality of life rank: #67

#13. Unicoi County

– Average life expectancy: 72.5 years (2.8 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #77
— Length of life rank: #82
— Quality of life rank: #72

#11. Haywood County

– Average life expectancy: 72.3 years (3.0 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #95
— Length of life rank: #90
— Quality of life rank: #94

#11. Dyer County

– Average life expectancy: 72.3 years (3.0 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #81
— Length of life rank: #76
— Quality of life rank: #86

#10. McNairy County

– Average life expectancy: 72.2 years (3.1 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #64
— Length of life rank: #77
— Quality of life rank: #48

#7. Benton County

– Average life expectancy: 72 years (3.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #86
— Length of life rank: #89
— Quality of life rank: #62

#7. Lake County

– Average life expectancy: 72 years (3.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #85
— Length of life rank: #73
— Quality of life rank: #91

#7. Houston County

– Average life expectancy: 72 years (3.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #75
— Length of life rank: #85
— Quality of life rank: #52

#5. Hancock County

– Average life expectancy: 71.8 years (3.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #94
— Length of life rank: #94
— Quality of life rank: #90

#5. Van Buren County

– Average life expectancy: 71.8 years (3.5 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #83
— Length of life rank: #88
— Quality of life rank: #55

#3. Campbell County

– Average life expectancy: 71.7 years (3.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #91
— Length of life rank: #91
— Quality of life rank: #87

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#3. Meigs County

– Average life expectancy: 71.7 years (3.6 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #88
— Length of life rank: #92
— Quality of life rank: #57

#2. Grundy County

– Average life expectancy: 71.4 years (3.9 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #92
— Length of life rank: #93
— Quality of life rank: #88

#1. Cocke County

– Average life expectancy: 71 years (4.3 less than the statewide average)
– Health outcomes statewide rank: #93
— Length of life rank: #95
— Quality of life rank: #84