Life expectancy in U.S. dropped by almost two years between 2018 and 2020



Life expectancy in the United States between 2018 and 2020 decreased by 1.87 years (to 76.87 years), which is 8.5 times the average decrease in other high-income nations. What’s more, decreases in life expectancy among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black people were about two to three times greater than in the non-Hispanic White population, reversing years of progress in reducing racial and ethnic disparities. The life expectancy of Black men (67.73 years) is the lowest since 1998.

Those are key findings of a study conducted by researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, the University of Colorado Population Center and the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and published in The BMJ — a peer-reviewed medical trade journal of the British Medical Association.

Author(s): Michael Popke

Publication Date: 28 June 2021

Publication Site: Benefits Pro

Effect of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 on life expectancy across populations in the USA and other high income countries: simulations of provisional mortality data




Results Between 2010 and 2018, the gap in life expectancy between the US and the peer country average increased from 1.88 years (78.66 v 80.54 years, respectively) to 3.05 years (78.74 v 81.78 years). Between 2018 and 2020, life expectancy in the US decreased by 1.87 years (to 76.87 years), 8.5 times the average decrease in peer countries (0.22 years), widening the gap to 4.69 years. Life expectancy in the US decreased disproportionately among racial and ethnic minority groups between 2018 and 2020, declining by 3.88, 3.25, and 1.36 years in Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic White populations, respectively. In Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations, reductions in life expectancy were 18 and 15 times the average in peer countries, respectively. Progress since 2010 in reducing the gap in life expectancy in the US between Black and White people was erased in 2018-20; life expectancy in Black men reached its lowest level since 1998 (67.73 years), and the longstanding Hispanic life expectancy advantage almost disappeared.

Conclusions The US had a much larger decrease in life expectancy between 2018 and 2020 than other high income nations, with pronounced losses among the Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations. A longstanding and widening US health disadvantage, high death rates in 2020, and continued inequitable effects on racial and ethnic minority groups are likely the products of longstanding policy choices and systemic racism.

BMJ 2021; 373 doi: (Published 24 June 2021)Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1343

Author(s): Steven H Woolf, Ryan K Masters, Laudan Y Aron

Publication Date: 24 June 2021

Publication Site: bmj