U.s. Life Expectancy Declines Again, Worst 2-year Dip in Century

According to a new federal assessment, the decline in life expectancy estimates in the United States has continued for a second year due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Health officials say the drop in life expectancy from 2019 to 2021 – falling by 2.7 years to 76.1 – is now the country’s worst two-year decline on record since 1923, according to provisional estimates published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

U.s. Life Expectancy Declines Again, Worst 2-year Dip in Century
U.s. Life Expectancy Declines Again, Worst 2-year Dip in Century

“The decreases in life expectancy since 2019 are mostly driven by the epidemic,” the organization said in a press release. A total of 74% of the reduction from 2019 to 2020 was attributable to COVID-19 deaths, and another 50% of the decline from 2020 to 2021 was also attributable to these deaths.

According to the most recent statistics given by the government, COVID-19 has been identified as a cause of death for over a million Americans.

The second largest contributor to the worsening estimate was “unintentional injuries,” which was responsible for 15.9% of the decrease. Those “were predominantly driven by drug overdose,” the report’s authors noted.

The extent to which these factors affected different groups of people, however, varied greatly.

COVID-19 was the primary reason in the fall in life expectancy among White Americans in 2021, contributing to 54.1% of the decline last year, from 77.4 to 76.4 years.

Black Americans lost 35 percent of their life expectancy due to COVID-19, while American Indians and Alaska Natives lost 21 percent.

The FDA claimed that Hispanic Americans had the largest fall in life expectancy during the first year of the pandemic, with 90% of the cause being attributed to COVID-19.

The Hispanic population experienced a “slight drop” of 0.2 years in life expectancy during the second year of the epidemic. “Unintentional injuries” exceeded COVID-19 as driving the reduction in life expectancy among Hispanic Americans.

The fall in life expectancy among Asian Americans was not due primarily to COVID-19. Instead, cancer fueled 21.4% of their drop last year.

Among all racial groups, Asian Americans suffered the least fall in life expectancy last year, losing just 0.1 years in 2021, to 83.5 years. The American Indian and Alaska Native population experienced the greatest reduction of any racial group, falling by 1.9 years, to a new low of 65.2 years.

The numbers are consistent with the agency’s earlier this year estimate that regional differences in COVID-19 mortality narrowed significantly as immunizations and treatments spread. This has resulted in a narrowing of some previously existing gaps in life expectancy between 2015 and the year 2020.

As of 2021, the gap in life expectancy between White and Black Americans has shrunk to to 5.6 years, a decrease of 5.1% from 2020 projections.

In 1993, the life expectancy of African-Americans in the United States was 7.1 years lower than that of whites. That difference was only four years by 2019, before the epidemic.

However, some disparities widened over the past year.

According to the study, the gap between male and female life expectancy will grow to 5.9 years by the year 2021. By the year 2010, the difference between the sexes had shrunk to 4.8 years.

These predictions provide one of the early glimpses at how the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic will affect life expectancy in the United States.

In the next months, we should have access to more granular data and breakdowns for 2021.

In the first year of the epidemic, life expectancy dropped in every state and the District of Columbia, as seen by the agency’s final estimates for 2020, which were revealed last week.

Federal health officials have warned of another possibly lethal surge of diseases this winter, prompting the release of this report.

There have been between 300 and 400 COVID-19 deaths each day in the United States since mid-April, CDC data shows, which is about double the lowest levels reported in June and July of 2021.

However, new COVID-19 deaths are still far lower than the waves seen in the fall and winter of 2018.

Researchers predict thousands of lives will be saved in the coming months thanks to new COVID-19 booster doses, but even the best-case scenario still predicts an increase of 111,000 deaths throughout the country.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told her advisors earlier this month, “Even now, we are still at roughly 400 deaths a day.” And that, we’re used to saying it, but I don’t think it’s a sustainable figure for us to be content with.

Walensky remarked, “I think we really do need to understand that that is much too many deaths than we should be comfortable with.”