10 States Most Likely to Become ‘Blue Zones,’ With Healthy Lifestyles and Long Lifespans


Where do the wealthiest Americans live? A new report finds that residents in California, Minnesota, and Utah tend to have especially long and healthy lives — to the point that these states might one day become so-called “Blue Zones.”

Author Dan Buettner came up with the concept of Blue Zones as he traveled globally conducting research to figure out the secrets to living longer. His work is now featured in a popular 2023 Netflix documentary series called “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.”

Residents of his five Blue Zones (locations in Italy, Greece, Japan, and Costa Rica, as well as Loma Linda, California) have lower incidences of chronic disease and much longer life expectancies than the general population. Buettner also suggests that there may be other Blue Zones that will emerge in the future.

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A new index from online pharmacy NowPatient builds around Buettner’s theories, grading U.S. states on the health and longevity of their residents, and their potential to be home to a new Blue Zone.

The index is based on data relating to sleep, physical activity, and anxiety/depression. The index also rewards states for reasons that might seem curious, like having a high number of Google searches for meat-free restaurants.

Why might this be? According to NowPatient, “Blue Zones’ food guidelines specifically recommend reducing eggs, fish, and dairy. In fact, if you want to eat like those in the Blue Zones, then your diet must be between 95.0% to 100.0% plant-based.”

Among the other categories that some may deem as controversial or questionable: States where a high share of the population is religious also rank higher. This is because people who live in high-life-expectancy Blue Zones tend to belong to faith-based communities, according to Buettner’s research.

10 states most likely to become Blue Zones

Buettner’s ideas on longevity have made waves in health and wellness circles. Here’s a ranking of the top 10 states most likely to become Blue Zones:

  1. California
  2. Minnesota
  3. Utah
  4. North Carolina
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Maryland
  7. Virginia
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Colorado

Retirement is a sensitive issue, especially in the US, where stories of kids crowd-funding for their schools' workers are seen as heartwarming — when in reality, it could not be a clearer indication that the system needs to change.

The average American retirement account balance has seen negative changes — ranging from -19 to -23 percent — year-over-year between Q4 in 2021-22, and average retirement savings this year are lower than the past two years.

Using Numbeo's cost of living data, NetCredit broke down how far an American savings account, in USD, would take you around the world in terms of retirement. Their analysis factored in an average retirement age of 61 and life expectancy of 76.15 years to calculate what retiring comfortably meant.

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of retirement is lowest in mostly Asian and African countries — like Pakistan, Egypt, and Algeria — where living a comfortable, retired life would require at least $225,000.

  • Singapore is the only country where it would cost you upwards of a million dollars to retire, whereas in the United States, that number is around $700,000.

  • Among US states, the most expensive retirement destination, Hawaii, would require you to cough up nearly $900,000. The cost of retirement in 39 out of 50 states, however, was lower than the desired $700,000 mark.

Click to enlarge images

cost of retirement world in american dollars map

retirement costs in american states map

Via NetCredit.

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