In July 2021, a number of information shops made the assertion that life expectancy in the US had dropped by 1.5 years between 2019 and 2020, in massive half as a result of results of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that, remarkably, this was the most important year-over-year decline in life expectancy since World Conflict II.
For instance, on July 21 CBS News printed an article with the headline “U.S. Life Expectancy Took ‘Catastrophic’ Hit Last Year, Biggest Since WWII,” which acknowledged that: “U.S. life expectancy fell by a year-and-a-half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday.”
These claims had been correct.
In keeping with knowledge printed by the federal U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), the estimated life expectancy in 2020 was 77.3 years. In 2019, it was 77.8 years — a year-over-year decline of 1.5 years.
Based mostly on historic CDC knowledge, the final time U.S. life expectancy dropped by that a lot or extra in one yr was certainly throughout World Conflict II, when life expectancy fell from 66.2 years in 1942, to 63.3 years in 1943 — a decline of two.9 years. As such, we’re issuing a ranking of “True.”
Life Expectancy in 2020
The newest authoritative info on life expectancy in the U.S. could be discovered in the “Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2020,” which had been printed on July 21, 2021, by the Nationwide Heart for Well being Statistics (NCHS), and could be learn in full here. It acknowledged that:
In 2020, life expectancy at start for the whole U.S. inhabitants was 77.3 years, declining by 1.5 years from 78.8 in 2019. Life expectancy at start for males was 74.5 years in 2020, representing a decline of 1.8 years from 76.3 years in 2019. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.2 years, lowering 1.2 years from 81.4 years in 2019.
Accord to the NCHS, that sharp decline in general life expectancy at start was largely attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic which, in response to the CDC, killed virtually 370,000 folks in the U.S., and contaminated greater than 20 million people, in 2020 alone. The report defined:
The decline of 1.5 years in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 was primarily because of will increase in mortality because of COVID-19 (73.8% of the detrimental contribution), unintentional accidents (11.2%), murder (3.1%), diabetes (2.5%), and Power liver illness and cirrhosis (2.3%).
Life Expectancy Traits Since World Conflict II
The assertion that the decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 was the largest since World Conflict II didn’t seem in the July 2021 estimates, however information shops seem to have primarily based it on remarks made by Elizabeth Arias, the lead writer of the report, in a February 2021 podcast.
Again in February, the CDC took the bizarre step of publishing life expectancy estimates for the primary six months of the earlier yr (2020). At the moment, the data suggested a decline of 1 yr between 2019 and 2020, a determine that was revised upwards to 1.5 years in July, when the info for the complete yr of 2020 had been launched. Inserting the sharp decline in life expectancy in historic context, Arias said:
The decline in life expectancy that we noticed for 2020 is the very best decline that now we have seen, not because the pandemic, however because the Second World Conflict when life expectancy declined 2.9 years between 1942 and 1943.
Arias’ evaluation was correct each on the time she made it, when the decline in life expectancy was estimated to be one yr, and in July 2021, when that decline was estimated to be 1.5 years.
A helpful visualization of life expectancy tendencies between 1900 and 2018 could be discovered on the NCHS website. It reveals that, since World Conflict II, life expectancy in the U.S. has steadily elevated, with a handful of small annual declines right here and there:
A complete breakdown of life expectancy yearly between 1900 and 2020 could be discovered right here. It reveals that in 1943, life expectancy (63.3 years) dropped by 2.9 years from 1942 (66.2 years). From that point till 2019, life expectancy skilled a year-over-year decline on solely 10 events, with the largest drop being 0.3 years, in 1968 and 1993.
The estimated decline of 1.5 years between 2019 and 2020 was subsequently the largest annual decline in life expectancy in the previous 77 years, by a substantial distance.
The most important single annual decline in life expectancy in the final 120 years got here in 1918, when it fell from 50.9 years, in 1917, to 39.1 years — a decline of 11.8 years. In 1918, the flu pandemic precipitated virtually 500,000 deaths in the U.S. alone.