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Life Expectancy from Birth

Summary Indicator Report Data View Options

New Mexico life expectancy appears to show a leveling-off of the gains we have experienced over the past decades. That trend is consistent with national data on life expectancy.

Life Expectancy from Birth by County, New Mexico, 2018-2020

Life Expectancy from Birth by Health Regions, New Mexico, 2018-2020

Life Expectancy from Birth by Urban and Rural Counties, New Mexico, 2018-2020

Why Is This Important?

Life Expectancy is often used to gauge the overall health of a community. Shifts in life expectancy are often used to describe trends in mortality. Being able to predict how populations will age has enormous implications for the planning and provision of services and supports. Small increases in life expectancy translate into large increases in the population. As the life expectancy of a population lengthens, the number of people living with chronic illnesses tends to increase because chronic illnesses are more common among older persons. Increases in life expectancy began to decline due to opioid deaths. In 2020, Life Expectancy took a significant downturn because of deaths from the corona virus, COVID-19.


Life expectancy is an estimate of the expected average number of years of life (or a person's age at death) for individuals who were born into a particular population. Life expectancy is sensitive to deaths to younger persons, such as infant mortality and injury deaths.

Data Sources

How the Measure is Calculated

Numerator:For information on life expectancy calculation, please see the [https:./resource/LifeExp.html NM-IBIS Life Expectancy help page].
Denominator:See numerator note.

How Are We Doing?

Women typically outlive men. Using the mortality experience of New Mexicans in 2020, females living in New Mexico can expect to live 78.5 years, and males can expect to live 71.8 years. Both New Mexico and the U.S. have seen a decrease in Life Expectancy beginning in 2019, most likely due to the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. [ Preliminary data] from 2021 indicates a further decline in the U.S. life expectancy.

What Is Being Done?

Until 2018, life expectancy had been increasing for... well, since records had been kept. Now that people are living longer, it is important to look at ways that those added years can be lived in good health. In addition to solving the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, exercise, healthy diet and weight, not smoking, moderate use of alcohol and injury prevention habits such as wearing seat belts all contribute to a healthy life span.

Evidence-based Practices

Prevention and control of infectious diseases has had a profound impact on life expectancy during the 20th century. In the United States life expectancy at birth from 1900 to 2000 increased from 48 to 74 years for men, and from 51 to 79 years for women. In contrast to life expectancy at birth, which increased sharply early in the century, life expectancy at age 65 improved primarily after 1950. Among U.S. men, life expectancy at age 65 rose from 12 to 16 years from 1950 to 2000, and among women from 12 to 19 years. Improvements in nutrition, hygiene, and medical care contributed to decreases in death rates throughout the lifespan.

Indicator Data Last Updated On 04/15/2022, Published on 04/15/2022
Community Health Assessment Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, P.O. Box 26110, Santa Fe, NM, 87502. Contact Rena Manning at