Life expectancy in the United States declined by one full year in the first half of 2020 to 77.8 years, down from 78.8 years in 2019.
The Covid-19 pandemic is partially responsible for the drop, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC’S National Center for Health Statistics released the report on Thursday based on statistics of deaths that occurred in the country from January through June, 2020.
The first case of coronavirus was reported in the U.S. on January 20, 2020. The worst pandemic ever to hit the country had claimed the lives of 127,425 people and infected 2,636,538 others by June 30.
The Covid-19 pandemic is likely responsible for “the majority of the decline,” said Elizabeth Arias, the lead author of the report. She is health scientist at the Mortality Statistics Branch of the NCHS.
The report summarized U.S life expectancy by age, Hispanic origin, race, and sex.
Life expectancy for American males was 75.1 years in the first half of 2020, representing a decline of 1.2 years from 76.3 years in 2019. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, decreasing 0.9 year from 81.4 years in 2019.
The worst decline in life expectancy is attributed to the non-Hispanic black population. Between 2019 and the first half of 2020, life expectancy decreased 2.7 years for that category, from 74.7 to 72 years.
Provisional life expectancy at birth in the first half of 2020 was the lowest level since 2006 for both the total population (77.8 years) and for males (75.1), and was the lowest level since 2007 for females (80.5).
Another consequence of the decreased life expectancy estimates observed during the first half of 2020 was a worsening of racial and ethnic mortality disparities.
For example, the gap in life expectancy between the non-Hispanic black and white populations increased by 46 percent between 2019 and the first half of 2020, from 4.1 to 6 years.
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