Average life expectancy at birth varies in Michigan by nearly eight years.

That’s one of many results from a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, where the authors calculated life expectancy by county from 1980 to 2014.

It showed disparities in life expectancy are growing across the nation.

“Looking at life expectancy on a national level masks the massive differences that exist at the local level, especially in a country as diverse as the United States,” said lead author Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, a researcher at IHME. “Risk factors like obesity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and smoking explain a large portion of the variation in lifespans, but so do socioeconomic factors like race, education, and income.”

Michigan’s average life expectancy at birth is 78.26 years old, and across the United States, it’s 79.08.

Leelanau County (home to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and just outside of Traverse City) takes home the statewide longest average life expectancy at 83.1 years.

Ottawa County is second in Michigan at 81.45 years, and Washtenaw County (home of Ann Arbor) was third at 81.09.

Keweenaw County jumped the most percentage-wise for life expectancy at 10.28 percent to 80.2 years, compared to the Michigan state average rise of 6.65 percent.

Here’s how the six-county Metro Detroit region (a definition determined by the U.S. Census as the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan area) breaks out in 2014:

  • Livingston County: 80.2 Years
  • Oakland County: 79.98
  • Lapeer County: 78.64
  • Macomb County: 78.44
  • St. Clair County: 77.75
  • Wayne County: 75.33

Wayne County, home to Detroit, has the shortest life expectancy in the state. This was also the case back in 1980, at 70.64 years.

Wayne is home to highest in the state mortality rates for those aged 5-25 (1.14 percent dying in those years vs. a state average of .76 precent) and 4.52 percent for those aged 25-45 vs. a state average of 2.79 percent.

In second-to-worst spot for life expectancy was Genesee County, home of Flint, at 76.06 years.

The lowest in the United States was Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota. It includes the Pine Ridge Native American reservation, at just 66.8 years. The highest? Summit County, Colorado. It tops the list at 86.8 years.

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