Let's take a break from the existential dread that is everyday life and confront our mortality by looking at how long North Dakotan's are expected to live.

A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that natives of North Dakota can expect to live shorter lives.

This just isn't one of those reports you want to hear about. After decades of seeing an increase in the average life expectancy for people all over the nation, and in North Dakota specifically, a new report reveals that we're going in the wrong direction.

There are a myriad of lifestyle habits that people engage in that can play a huge role in life expectancy, for better or worse.

According to this National Vital Statistics Report, the average life expectancy in North Dakota is now 76.9 years, which is below the national average of 78.8 years.

Figures from 2020 prompted confirmation from the CDC that this report shows we're seeing the largest decrease in life expectancy for North Dakota in 75 years. And how does the CDC calculate this? The CDC says they study Medicare data, the overall number of deaths, and the basic U.S. Census data to come to their conclusions.

How does North Dakota compare to our neighbors?

Montana and South Dakota come in just behind North Dakota with 76.8 and 76.7 years, respectively, in average life expectancy. Just to the east, Minnesota fairs much better, with an average life expectancy of 79.1 years.

So what are the causes that have reportedly led to the drop in life expectancy for North Dakotans, according to the CDC?

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on average life expectancy.

While heart disease is still the number one cause of death in North Dakota and cancer comes in at number two, COVID-19 occupies the number three position.

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Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg

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