facebook linkedin twitter

Pandemic Drives Largest Drop in Life Expectancy Since WWII

July 21, 2021 by Dan McCue
The CDC′s Tom Harkin Global Communications Center located on the organization′s Roybal Campus in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo Credit: James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest overall decline since World War II, the Centers for Disease Control reported Wednesday.

The decline to 77.3 years was driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics said.

Life expectancy at birth declined by 1.5 years, the lowest level since 2003, the center said. Between 1942 and 1943, the height of the Second World War, life expectancy in the U.S. declined 2.9 years.

In an interview with Reuters, Elizabeth Arias, a CDC researcher who worked on the report, said U.S. life expectancy had been gradually increasing for decades.

“The decline between 2019 and 2020 was so large that it took us back to the levels we were in 2003. Sort of like we lost a decade,” Arias said.

But the numbers released Wednesday also underscored the racial disparities associated with the pandemic.

Life expectancy declined by: 

  • 1.2 years for the non-Hispanic White population, to 77.6 years;
  • 2.9 years for the non-Hispanic Black population, to 71.8 years;
  • 3 years for the Hispanic population, to 78.8 years.

Hispanic men, in particular, saw the greatest drop, 3.7 years.

COVID-19 deaths contributed to about 74% of the decline in life expectancy among the general U.S. population, according to the data. Another 11% of the decline can be attributed to increases in deaths from accidents or unintentional injuries, including drug overdose deaths.

For the Hispanic population, however, COVID-19 was responsible for 90% of the decline in life expectancy. 

For the Black population, which saw life expectancy reach the lowest level since 2000, COVID-19 contributed to 59% of the decline. For the white population, which saw life expectancy reach the lowest level since 2002, COVID-19 contributed to 68% of the decline.

While the disparity in life expectancy between the non-Hispanic White and Black population had been narrowing over the past three decades, the gap increased from 4.1 years in 2019 to 5.8 years in 2020.

The life expectancy gap between the Hispanic and White populations, meanwhile, narrowed.

The report didn’t include statistics on Asian-Americans or other racial groups.

Health

November 26, 2021
by Dan McCue
US Restricts Travel From 8 Countries in Response to Omicron Variant

WASHINGTON - The Biden Administration on Friday imposed air travel restrictions on eight African nations in response to a new... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Biden Administration on Friday imposed air travel restrictions on eight African nations in response to a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa. The new travel restrictions, which go into effect Monday, apply to citizens of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho,... Read More

World Takes Action as New Variant Emerges in Southern Africa

BRUSSELS (AP) — A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday, and stocks plunged... Read More

BRUSSELS (AP) — A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday, and stocks plunged in Asia and Europe in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant. "The last thing we need is to bring in a... Read More

November 23, 2021
by Dan McCue
House and Senate Democrats Seek to Protect Access to Birth Control Act

WASHINGTON — More than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate are urging their colleagues to help them guarantee a... Read More

WASHINGTON — More than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate are urging their colleagues to help them guarantee a woman’s timely access to birth control at her local pharmacy. The legislation, the Access to Birth Control Act, was reintroduced in the Senate Tuesday by Sens.... Read More

Biden to Have Routine Colonoscopy, Transfer Power to Harris

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden will briefly transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday when he... Read More

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden will briefly transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday when he undergoes a “routine colonoscopy" at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the White House said. Biden drove early Friday to the medical center in the Washington... Read More

November 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
Biden Administration Suspends Enforcement of Vaccine Mandate

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday suspended enforcement of a vaccine mandate on private companies with 100 or more... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday suspended enforcement of a vaccine mandate on private companies with 100 or more employees. The decision, which was carried out through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, comes less than a week after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of... Read More

November 17, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Health Officials Address What To Do If You Lose Your Vaccination Card

WASHINGTON —Many public health departments across the country are experiencing increasing calls from individuals who have lost their vaccination cards... Read More

WASHINGTON —Many public health departments across the country are experiencing increasing calls from individuals who have lost their vaccination cards and are seeking a replacement. "Our department receives, on average, 60 requests for replacement vaccination cards each week. This number has remained steady for the last... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top