For the second year in a row, life expectancy at birth in the United States dropped sharply amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released this week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Centers for Health Statistics, life expectancy in 2021 dropped to 76.1 years, down from 77 a year ago and 78.8 in 2019. Life expectancy in 2021 was the lowest since 1995.
The drop in life expectancy was more pronounced among males than females. It dropped from 76.3 years in 2019 to 73.2 in 2021. For females, life expectancy fell from 81.4 years in 2019 to 79.1.
The drop in life expectancy was also more pronounced among American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Males in this group saw a 7.1-year drop in life expectancy while females also saw a 2.3-year decline.
The CDC said COVID-19 was the top reason why life expectancy decreased. But increases in unintentional injuries, heart disease, liver disease and cirrhosis and suicide also played a role in the drop in life expectancy.
The CDC noted that a drop in deaths related to influenza, pneumonia, lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer's disease, perinatal conditions and Parkinson’s disease all helped offset some of the losses in life expectancy.