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USA is set to drop out of top 50 countries in the world for life expectancy

USA is set to drop out of top 50 countries in the world for life expectancy

The USA has continued to slump down the life expectancy charts, partly due to Covid-19, but with other factors at play too

The United States of America is continuing to slump down the world life expectancy charts, with the latest information putting life expectancy at birth in the country at 76.1 years overall.

That’s significantly lower than China and could see the USA drop out of the top 50 countries in the world for life expectancy.

In fact, depending on which numbers you use to do your research, some suggest that has already happened.

Between 2020 and 2021, the life expectancy at birth of the average US citizen has dropped significantly, now sitting at the lowest level since 1996.

The gap between the life expectancy in China and the USA has now widened to a full year, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Of course, as you can probably deduce, there’s at least one significant reason for this – Covid-19.

That – according to the stats – has accounted for 50 percent of the drop from 2020 to 2021, as the United States government has recorded more than 1.05 million deaths from the disease.

The USA is stumbling backwards down the life expectancy charts.
oikeo*projects/Alamy Stock Photo

There has also been an increase in deaths that are recorded as ‘unintentional injuries’ which includes opioid overdoses and road traffic accidents.

That category accounted for 15.9 percent of the decline, the second biggest factor behind Covid-19.

Whilst the latest life expectancy data from China is not yet available, their figure increased during 2020 unexpectedly.

Over the same period, the USA life expectancy was down 1.8 years.

It’s possible that China’s zero-Covid strategy of stringent measures and lockdowns when cases are reported has helped keep mortality rates down.

In an interview with the New York Times, Robert Anderson PhD of the National Center for Health Statistics said: “Even small declines in life expectancy of a tenth or two-tenths of a year mean that on a population level, a lot more people are dying prematurely than they really should be.

“This signals a huge impact on the population in terms of increased mortality.”

Even more pronounced is the drop-off in life expectancy for certain groups, with Native American and Alaska Native communities dropping by as much as 6.5 years since the start of the pandemic.

Anderson told CNN: “When I saw that in the report, I just – my jaw dropped.

“It was hard enough to fathom a 2.7-year decline over 2 years overall.

“But then to see a 6.6-year decline for the American Indian [sic] population, it just shows the substantial impact that the pandemic has had on that population.”

The USA's life expectancy at birth is now 76.1 years.
Kitchen/Alamy Stock Photo

Whilst other countries have bounced back a bit – thanks in part due to mask-wearing, universal healthcare, and vaccination rates, the US has remained in decline.

Steven Woolf MD, formerly of the Center on Society and Health and Virginia Commonwealth University, told the NYT that the drop was ‘historic’, adding: “None of them experienced a continuing fall in life expectancy like the US did, and a good number of them saw life expectancy start inching back to normal.

“The US is clearly an outlier.”

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Featured Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd UC5/Tony Lilley/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, Health, Science