Last year, the life expectancy in the US saw an increase, although it is still lower than it was before the pandemic.

According to recent reports, life expectancy in the United States increased by over a year in the past year. However, it has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday that the main reason for the rise in 2022 was the decline in the pandemic. However, despite the significant increase, life expectancy in the United States has only reached 77 years and 6 months, which is similar to levels seen two decades ago.

Life expectancy is an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live, assuming the death rates at that time hold constant. The snapshot statistic is considered one of the most important measures of the health of the U.S. population. The 2022 calculations released Wednesday are provisional, and could change a little as the math is finalized.

Over the course of several decades, the life expectancy in the United States has consistently increased. However, approximately ten years ago, this trend came to a halt and even saw a decline in some years. This change has been attributed to the rise in overdose-related deaths and suicides.

The COVID-19 pandemic struck, resulting in over 1.1 million deaths in the United States since the beginning of 2020. The average lifespan of Americans significantly decreased, going from 78 years and 10 months in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, and further down to 76 years and 5 months in 2021.

The statement made by Elizabeth Arias of the CDC suggests that we have essentially forfeited two decades worth of progress.

The improvement in 2022 was driven by a decrease in deaths caused by COVID-19.

In the year 2021, COVID was the third most significant contributor to deaths in the nation, following heart disease and cancer. However, in the previous year, it dropped to the fourth spot. Based on early data for the current year, it is anticipated that COVID-19 may potentially become the ninth or tenth leading cause of death in the year 2023.

However, the United States is also facing other challenges, such as deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

A second report from the CDC, released on Wednesday, stated that the number of suicides in the United States reached its peak last year and that the national suicide rate was the highest observed since 1941.

The number of drug overdose fatalities in the United States increased slightly last year following two significant jumps at the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the estimated death toll from overdoses continued to gradually rise during the first half of this year.

The life expectancy in the United States remains lower compared to many other countries. Additionally, it did not recover as rapidly as in other locations, such as France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

According to Steven Woolf, a researcher studying mortality at Virginia Commonwealth University, it is likely that the U.S. will eventually return to the life expectancy seen before the pandemic.

However, he added, “What I mean is that it’s not a good place to be.”

Additional key points from the latest report include:

The average lifespan has risen for males and females, as well as for all racial and ethnic categories.

— The decline in COVID-19 deaths drove 84% of the increase in life expectancy. The next largest contributor was a decline in heart disease deaths, credited with about 4% of the increase. But experts note that heart disease deaths increased during COVID-19, and both factored into many pandemic-era deaths.

The life expectancy among different races and ethnicities had varying changes. In 2022, Hispanic Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives had an increase of more than two years in their life expectancy. Black individuals experienced an increase of 1 1/2 years, while Asian Americans saw a rise of one year and white individuals saw an increase of about 10 months.

However, the impact of COVID-19 on Hispanic Americans and Native Americans was disproportionate as they experienced greater decreases in life expectancy compared to other demographics. Specifically, Hispanic life expectancy declined by over four years from 2019 to 2021, while Native American life expectancy dropped by more than six years.

According to Mark Hayward, a sociology professor at the University of Texas, many of the significant improvements in life expectancy can be attributed to the groups that were most affected by COVID. These groups had more obstacles to overcome, leading to a greater rebound in their life expectancy.


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