American life expectancy almost 2 years lower since pandemic


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DENVER (KDVR) – Life expectancy in the U. S. fell more during the COVID-19 pandemic than any time since World War II, according to a study released by the medical journal BMJ.

Life expectancy in the U.S declined 8.5 times more than the average during the pandemic compared to 16 other high-income nations, the study found.

“We were on a concerning trajectory relative to other countries for many years in terms of life expectancy, but the declines were only marginal,” said coauthor Ryan Masters, an assistant professor of sociology at CU Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science. “Along comes COVID and the effect on the U.S. population has been just atrocious.”

Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations saw the largest declines, with Black people facing a 3.25-year loss and Hispanic people facing an almost 4-year decrease. White Americans face a 1.36-year drop, the study showed.

Life expectancy for a Black man is the lowest it has been since 1998, at 68 years old.

“People in the United States used to have an advantage over other countries when it came to surviving to old age. That advantage is now gone and the gap is widening,” Masters said.

Life expectancy at birth by the numbers:

  • U.S. Overall:
    • 79.75 for women; 74.06 for men in 2020
    • 81.04 for women; 76.20 for men in 2010
  • U.S. Non-Hispanic Black populations
    • 75.34 for women; 67.73 for men in 2020
    • 77.70 for women; 71.51 for men in 2010
  • U.S. Hispanic populations
    • 81.38 for women; 74.50 for men in 2020
    • 84.26 for women; 78.84 for men in 2010
  • Peer countries (16)
    • 81.56 in 2020
    • 80.54 in 2010

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