Thu. Oct 6th, 2022

US life expectancy fell again in 2021, largely due to COVID-19

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Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the second consecutive year in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for about half the decline in 2021.

Over the course of the first two years of the pandemic, the estimated U.S. life expectancy has shorted by nearly three years.

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In this March 10, 2021 file photo, a couple walks through a park at sunset in Kansas City, Mo. U.S. life expectancy dropped for two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, marking the first such trend since the early 1920s, according to a new government report. 

In this March 10, 2021 file photo, a couple walks through a park at sunset in Kansas City, Mo. U.S. life expectancy dropped for two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, marking the first such trend since the early 1920s, according to a new government report. 
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Deaths from accidental injuries, primarily from drug overdoses, were the second largest contributor.

Other contributing factors include heart disease, suicide and chronic liver disease.

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Concord, MA - July 28: A newborn baby boy yawns as he sits with his mother at Emerson Hospital. 

Concord, MA – July 28: A newborn baby boy yawns as he sits with his mother at Emerson Hospital. 
(Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Life expectancy had risen for decades, but progress stalled before the pandemic. 

While it was 78 years and 10 months in 2019, last year it fell to about 76 years and one month.

For women, it dropped about 10 months and a full year for men. 

A couple walks the beach at Coney Island on March 9, 2016 in New York. 

A couple walks the beach at Coney Island on March 9, 2016 in New York. 
(DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

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Life expectancy is the approximate number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live, given current death rates.

The new report is based on provisional data. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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