Stay away from these death states

Folks living in Mississippi might want to consider changing zip codes. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Magnolians have, on average, a 20% shorter life span than the national average.

Mississippi isn't the only southern state you're most likely to die in. Nine out of 10 "death states" are in the south.

Want to tack years onto your lifespan? Stay away from real estate in these states.

  1. Mississippi. The numbers just aren't good. Mississippi has the third most cancer deaths, the sixth highest percentage of its population not covered by health insurance and the 20th highest rate of suicides. Add that, and incidentals like seat belt compliance and number of smokers, and you've got the state with the shortest life expectancy. Mississippi also has the highest rate of infant deaths in the country, with 11.4 out of every 1,000 babies born (alive) dying.
  2. Alabama. We're not picking on the South. Really. But with a neighbor ranking number one as the deadliest state, you'd think Alabama would want to set itself apart from the pack. Alabama's got the third highest infant death rate, ranks seventh highest in cancer deaths and has nearly double the national average of sexually transmitted diseases than other states.
  3. West Virginia. Babies don't fare too well here, either. West Virginia earned a spot on the "Deadliest States" list by having the 10th highest infant death rate, sixth highest rate of cancer deaths and second highest rate of smokers.
  4. Louisiana. With a combination of high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases, new cases of cancer and AIDS, and the highest number of residents without access to health care, it's no wonder Louisiana is ranked number 4.
  5. Oklahoma.The only state in the top 10 that's not in the South, Okies earned their deadly distinction by having a whole bunch of "little" things go wrong. Oklahoma didn't take home any top prizes as "worst" in terms of highest deaths of one specific group (like cancer deaths, or babies). But its top 10 ranking in many of these categories added up to it edging its way into the top 5. One of it's most deadly attributes: Oklahomans light up -- a lot. It's home to the third highest number of adult smokers.

Rounding out the top 10 are Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia.

Gina Roberts-Grey is a freelance writer specializing in consumer issues.

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