US life expectancy is lowest in decades
U.S. life expectancy is the lowest it’s been in decades, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After a historic drop in 2020, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. took another significant hit in 2021, falling to about 76 years.
The lowest it’s been in the U.S. since 1996 and the biggest two-year decline in a century.
“It boggles my mind still. We spent $4 trillion on healthcare in the United States and our life expectancy even before the pandemic was going down,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
COVID-19 was the driving factor for the lower life expectancy.
With deaths from the virus contributing to half of the decline from 2020 to 2021, deaths from unintentional injuries — about half of which are due to drug overdose — were the second leading cause of the decline.
The report says that death rates for flu and pneumonia went down in 2021 and if it weren’t for these “offsetting effects” the decline in U.S. life expectancy would have been even greater.
“Other similar countries also had a drop of about a half a year during that first year of COVID but they’ve actually gone up over this past year returning back. So, the United States continues to go down in terms of overall life expectancy whereas other similar countries have started to rebound,” said Dr. Gupta.
The CDC says the biggest decline in life expectancy was among American Indian and Alaska Native people at 65.2 years, the life expectancy for American Indians in 2021 was equal to the overall U.S. life expectancy in 1944.