That constitutes a 3-year reduction for men and a 2.3-year dip for women, according to provisional estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics.
For the sake of comparison, life expectancy for men was 73.1 years for males and 79.1 years for females in 1996.
Researchers typically measure changes in life expectancy in months rather than years.
COVID-19 drove about three-quarters of the recent drop in life expectancy, CDC estimated.
Unintentional injuries, including fatal drug overdoses, were the second-largest contributor to the drop in life expectancy.According to CDC, there were 109,000 U.S. overdose deaths from March 2021 to March 2022.
Other factors driving down life expectancy included suicide, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis and homicide. For women, heart disease, stroke and chronic liver disease contributed to lowered life expectancy.
In an article in the Boston Herald, Phil Landrigan, an epidemiologist and professor of biology at Boston College, also faulted the U.S.’s eroding public health infrastructure in recent decades as contributing to lost life expectancy.
Some diverse populations, especially American Indians, have seen especially steep reductions in life expectancy.
An article in Trust for America’s Health notes that a Black male born in the U.S. in 2021 has a shorter life expectancy than one born in Rwanda.
In the positive column, deaths were down for other respiratory diseases outside COVID-19, including influenza and pneumonia.
While the U.S. spends more than most developed nations on healthcare, its life expectancy levels lag behind those of wealthy countries in Europe or Asia.
According to data from the World Bank, life expectancy in the U.S. ranks 46th in the world.
The CDC has announced initiatives to improve its response to COVID-19 but hasn’t detailed those plans.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease