According to preliminary government data released on Wednesday, COVID-19 deaths caused life expectancy in the United States to decline for the second consecutive year in 2021, reaching its lowest level since 1996. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that the decrease in life expectancy at birth of about one year, from 2020 to 76.1 years, was the biggest two-year reduction in nearly a century.
Men are now anticipated to live 73.2 years, which is about six years less than women, while the gap in life expectancy between the sexes increased last year to its widest in more than 20 years. The research showed that deaths from COVID-19, together with drug overdoses and heart disease, were important contributors to half of the overall reduction in life expectancy last year. According to the CDC, COVID-19 was responsible for more than 460,000 fatalities in the United States in 2021.
However, due to the fact that deaths normally increase in the winter, life expectancy this year is unlikely to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Much will depend on what transpires at the end of the year, Anderson added. Despite a decline in suicide deaths in 2020, they still accounted for the fifth-largest share of the overall decline in life expectancy in 2017.
The third largest factor in the fall in men’s life expectancy was suicide-related deaths. The government cautioned that the data is preliminary and has a number of limitations, such as the variance in submission times for death certificates among different jurisdictions.
“Mortality’s been a little better in 2022 than it was in 2020, so I think it’s likely that we would see maybe a slight increase in life expectancy”, stated Robert Anderson, the National Center for Health Statistics’ chief of mortality statistics.