“Life expectancy has gradually increased every year for the past decades,” said Elizabeth Arias, a CDC researcher who worked on the report. “The decline that occurred between 2019 and 2020 was so great that it returned us to the levels we had in 2003. It is as if we had lost a decade.”
Deaths from covid-19 contributed almost three-quarters to the phenomenon, precisely 74%, while drug overdoses were the second factor of incidence.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) last week released interim data showing that overdose deaths in the United States rose nearly 30% in 2020.
The latest CDC report is based on interim mortality data from January to December 2020.
Racial, gender and ethnic disparities worsened during the period, according to the report. The life expectancy of the African-American population fell 2.9 years, to 71.8, in 2020, its lowest since 2000, while that of Hispanic men fell 3.7 years, to 75.3, the largest decrease on record in any group. The disparity in life expectancy between men and women also increased in 2020, and women are now expected to live 80.2 years, or 5.7 years longer than men, six months longer than expected in 2019.
Data represent early estimates based on death certificates received, processed, and encoded, but not yet finalized by the NCHS.