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U.S. Life Expectancy Fell by 1.5 Years in 2020, the Biggest Decline in Generations

Jul 21, 2021   |   Wall Street Journal

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by 1.5 years in 2020, the biggest decline since at least World War II, as the Covid-19 pandemic killed hundreds of thousands and exacerbated crises in drug overdoses, homicides and some chronic diseases.

Provisional data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that American life expectancy dropped to 77.3 years in 2020, roughly the same level as in 2003, erasing years of hard-won gains in the nation’s public health. It was the largest single-year decline recorded since 1943. It isn’t entirely clear what caused the drop that year, when the U.S. was fighting World War II.

“I myself had never seen a change this big except in the history books,” said Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the report. Read More

Authors

Betsy McKay

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