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U.S. life expectancy drops to the lowest level in 25 years


American life expectancy has dropped to the lowest level in 25 years. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Riedel

U.S. life expectancy drops to the lowest level in 25 years

The average life expectancy for Americans fell for the second year in a row, dropping from 77 to 76.1 years for people born in 2020 and 2021, respectively. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy has been climbing in recent years and peaked at 78.8 years in 2019. According to the report, a rise in deaths attributed to COVID-19 and drug overdoses fueled the decrease, while heart disease and cancer remain the leading causes of death. While U.S. life expectancy remains higher than the global average, it trails other countries with large economies like the United Kingdom and South Korea.

How is life expectancy different between men and women? The average life expectancy for American men dropped from 74.2 to 73.2 in 2021, while life expectancy for women dropped from 79.9 to 79.1 in 2021. Experts attribute the gap in average lifespan to differences in biology, behavior, and predisposition to illnesses.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report in Compassion about tracking the fentanyl epidemic.


Lauren Canterberry

Lauren Canterberry is a reporter for WORLD. She graduated from the World Journalism Institute and the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, both in 2017. She worked as a local reporter in Texas and now lives in Georgia with her husband.


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