COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Excess Mortality and Potential Years of Life Lost in the U.S. and Peer Countries



We find that, among similarly large and wealthy countries, the U.S. had among the highest excess mortality rates in 2020, and younger people were more likely to have died due to the pandemic in the U.S. than younger people in other countries. With a much higher rate of death among people under age 75, the U.S. had the highest increase in premature deaths due the pandemic in 2020. Before the pandemic, the U.S. already had the highest premature death rate of peer nations, by far. We find that per capita premature excess death rate in the U.S. was over twice as high as the next closest peer country, the U.K. The higher rate of new premature deaths in the U.S. compared to peer countries was driven in part by racial disparities within the U.S. Looking at age differences in excess mortality by race, we find that American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), Hispanic, Black, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) people in the U.S. were more likely to have died at younger ages during the pandemic in 2020 than non-elderly White or Asian adults in the U.S.

Author(s): Krutika Amin, Cynthia Cox

Publication Date: 7 April 2021

Publication Site: Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker