In this Oct. 17, 2018, file photo, monuments are seen in Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

Maine’s life expectancy declined by six months between 2019 and 2020, which was among the smallest drops in the country.

Nationwide, life expectancy fell by 1.8 years between 2019 and 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fatal drug overdoses, according to a new report from the U.S. CDC. Maine’s life expectancy now stands at 77.8 years, which is 0.8 years longer than the national average.

Overall, Maine ranked 14th in terms of how long residents are projected to live. But Maine has the lowest rate in New England, with residents of Massachusetts and New Hampshire projected to live 1.2 years longer than their neighbors to the north. Women in Maine are also projected to live six years longer than men, according to the CDC.

The states where residents are expected to live the longest were Hawaii (80.7 years), Washington (79.2) and Minnesota (79.1), while the states with the shortest projected lifespans were Mississippi (71.9), West Virginia (72.8) and Louisiana (73.1).

Maine has had among the lowest death rates from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic despite having the oldest population in the country. To date, there have been more than 2,500 COVID deaths in the state, according to the Maine CDC.

But like many other states, Maine has seen a massive spike in fatal drug overdoses during the past two years. There were a record 626 overdose deaths in Maine in 2021, and drug-related deaths during the first five months of 2022 were 9 percent higher than the same period last year.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.