McDowell County ranks lowest for life expectancy - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

McDowell County ranks lowest for life expectancy

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WELCH -

According to this website, McDowell County West Virginia ranks dead last in the state for life expectancy. By comparing those numbers to the state ranked the second lowest for years lived, Mississippi, they show McDowell County still holds its rank for last.

The site shows the national benchmark for years of potential life lost at 5,317 years. McDowell County comes in at 17,644 years lost.

For men, the study puts the average lifetime around 65 years and around 70 years for women. We asked people in Welch what they thought of the numbers.

"That is extremely young, but living down here and knowing the life that people have to live down here with the coal mines and everything... that could very well be acceptable," said Charles Rushbock.

Most people we asked guessed it would be somewhere between 70 and 80 years.

A few of the reasons cited for the low life expectancy besides poverty are number of smokers, availability of physical activity, and availability of health care.

Even those who are living past their expected years say they understand why its getting so bad.

"Every time I open the obituaries and it's a young person I think... it's a drug overdose. Bad problem in McDowell County," said senior Marilyn Tilley.