Even worse, the decline was felt by Black Americans as well as Hispanic Americans. It fell for three years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drop in life expectancy is primarily due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Health officials claim that it is responsible for nearly 74% of the decline in overall life expectancy. Last year saw more Americans die than ever before. COVID-19 was responsible for approximately 11% of these deaths.
Black life expectancy hasn't fallen as much in a single year since the Great Depression, which occurred in the mid-1930s. Although Hispanics have not been closely monitored by health officials for as long, the 2020 decline was the most significant one-year drop.
According to Mark Hayward, University of Texas sociology professor and researcher on changes in U.S. death rates, the sudden fall is "basically devastating".
Other than COVID-19, other killers played a part. Life expectancy fell for whites, especially because of drug overdoses. Elizabeth Arias (the report's author) said that rising homicides was a minor but important reason for the decline in life expectancy for Black Americans.
Experts said that Black and Hispanic populations were also affected by the lack of quality health care, crowded living conditions, and the need to continue working during the worst of the pandemic.
The average life expectancy of a baby born in any given year is an estimation of how long they can expect to live. This is a vital statistic that shows how a country's health can be affected by both long-term trends like obesity and temporary threats such as pandemics or wars that may not endanger the newborns.
The U.S. had a long history of increasing life expectancy. However, this trend stopped in 2015 and remained stagnant for many years before reaching 78 years in 2019, 10 months later. According to the CDC, it fell to 77 years and 4 months last year.
The new CDC report also contains other findings:
The largest drop in 2020 was for Hispanic Americans. They have a longer life expectancy that white and black Americans. This was the biggest drop in Hispanic life expectancy since 15 years ago, when the CDC began tracking it.
Black life expectancy fell nearly three years to 71 years and 10 months. Since 2000, it has been much higher than that.
White life expectancy dropped by approximately 14 months to 77 years and 7 months. This was the lowest level of life expectancy in that area since 2002.
The role of COVID-19 varied depending on race and ethnicity. The decline in life expectancy was 90% among Hispanics, 68% for whites and 59% for Black Americans.