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U.S. life expectancy posts big drop in 2020


A couple walks in a park in Kansas City, Mo. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Riedel (file)

U.S. life expectancy posts big drop in 2020

Life expectancy in the United States last year suffered its largest decline since World War II, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report said the COVID-19 pandemic— accounting for 74 percent of the decline—was the main reason life expectancy fell by a year and a half to 77 years, 4 months. Drug overdoses were another big culprit, and an increase in homicides also contributed.

Which Americans had the largest decline? Life expectancy for black Americans and Hispanic Americans fell by about three years. For white Americans, it fell by 14 months. Overall, the country recorded 3.3 million deaths—the largest number in U.S. history.

Dig deeper: Read Rachel Lynn Aldrich’s report in The Sift about the increase life expectancy in 2018.


Timothy Lamer

Tim is executive editor of WORLD Digital and interim editor of WORLD Magazine. He previously worked for the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Va. Tim’s work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard.

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