Life Expectancy in U.S. Drops for Second Straight Year

Life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the second year in a row, a decline that is largely due to the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s inequitable health care system, experts say.

Before the pandemic, the U.S. average life expectancy was 78+ years and 10 months. This number fell to 77 in 2020 and to 77 last year. it dropped to 76 years and one month.

The last time the nation’s life expectancy was this low was more than two decades ago, in 1996. The current drop is the largest two-year decline in the U.S. in almost 100 years of tracking the data.

Particularly dramatic has been the drop in life expectancy of members of marginalized communities. In the last two years, the life expectancy has dropped for Native Americans as well as Alaska Natives. dropped by around 6.6 years.

“It’s a ridiculous decline. When I saw a 6.6 year decline over two years, my jaw dropped…. I made my staff re-run the numbers to make sure,” said Robert Anderson, chief of the National Center for Health Statistics mortality statistics branch.

According to the new figures, Native Americans and Alaska Natives now live for just 65 years. This is an equivalent number to the nation’s life expectancy overall in the 1940s.

The government released the numbers in a Wednesday report. It cited the pandemic for the main reason for the decline. Experts say that other factors also played a part in the decline. Some countries have seen their life expectancies increase after the pandemic.

Steven Woolf, director emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center on Society and Health, attributes the discrepancyBecause other countries have had more successful vaccination campaigns and populations that are more open to wearing masks and social distance, it is not surprising that this is the case.

He also said that the U.S. health system has contributed to the decline. The U.S. is a world leader when it comes to what KindIt can provide the best care possible there are widespread socioeconomic disparities that make access to care more difficultEspecially for marginalized communities.

“The U.S. is clearly an outlier” among other wealthy nations, Woolf said to The New York Times.

Notably, the U.S. the only large wealthy country in the worldWithout universal health coverage