Policy liberalization by stateLife expectancy is increasingly tied to a state’s policy direction, says new analysis of U.S. Mortality Database.

People in U.S. states with more liberal policies can expect to live longer than their peers in states with more conservative policies, thanks in part to laws on minimum wages, tobacco taxes, gun safety, and the environment, according to new research.

Life expectancy differences among states have widened in recent years, as state policies have become more polarized. In general, states where policies have become more liberal have added years to their residents’ lives more quickly, while states where policies have veered conservative have seen slower gains in life expectancy, finds research led by Jennifer Karas Montez of Syracuse University.

“The chances that an individual can live a long and healthy life appear to be increasingly tied to their state of residence and the policy choices made by governors and state legislators,” says Montez.

Paola Scommegna, Matthew Martinez, and Lillian Kilduff (January 2023). Liberal U.S. State Policies Linked to Longer Lives. Population Reference Bureau.