Looking at the numbers: Minnesota’s State of
Health Care Quality
Minnesota is often named one of the
best places to live in the United States.
In terms of quality of life, the state frequently
shines among the top three best performing
states and wins many other top rankings.
Some of the titles L’Étoile du Nord has won
include best state for women, happiest state
in the U.S., and least stressed state in the
It’s no wonder Minnesota often rates near
the top in health and health care measures as
well. Our home state has been consistently
ranked among the top 10 states for measures
of health and health care quality by several
With such high quality of life and overall
good health, Minnesotans’ average life
expectancy is rated fourth highest in the
country. According to a recent study, life
expectancy at birth for Minnesotans is
currently at 80.8 years, compared to 78.9
years nationally. Healthy life expectancy at
birth, which accounts for poor health caused
by disability or mortality, in Minnesota is
the highest in the nation at 70.3 years, an
increase from 67.9 years in 1990.
As is often the case, such aggregate or overall
performance measures only tell part of the
story—the story of the majority. Minnesota’s
dossier showing strong performance relative
to other states does not necessarily mean all
Minnesotans experience this same quality.
Length of life data illustrate staggering
disparities for Minnesotans of color, who
are far more likely to experience premature
death—dying before the average age of death,
75 years in the U.S.
Minnesotans as a whole have a lower number
of years of potential life lost compared to
the nation. Blacks and American Indians in
the state have a notably higher number of
years of potential life lost compared to whites
(4,789 years per 100,000 population). Blacks
lose more than twice as many years (8,192)
and American Indians lose nearly four
times as many years (18,864) per 100,000
population than whites.