U.S. Life Expectancy Saw Biggest Decline since World War II during Pandemic

Workers lower a coffin into the ground after a graveside service at a cemetery in Salem, Mass., April 22, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

U.S. life expectancy fell by 1.5 years in 2020, the largest single-year drop since World War II, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Wednesday.

The average life expectancy for Americans in 2020 was 77.3 years, a level not seen since 2003.

“I myself had never seen a change this big except in the history books,” Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, told reporters. Arias is a lead author of the new life expectancy report.

The main causes of death for Americans are heart disease and cancer, however the decline in life expectancy was driven primarily by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 contributed to 385,201 American deaths in 2020, according to the CDC.

#inline-newsletter-nloptin-60f8921565f7c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size: 1.2rem; line-height: 1.5rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60f8921565f7c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta p { font-size: 1.05rem; line-height: 1.45rem; color: #000000; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60f8921565f7c { background-color: #ffffff; border-width: 1px; border-color: #cccccc; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60f8921565f7c .inline-newsletter-subscribe__email-submit { border-color: #e92131; background-color: #e92131; color: #ffffff; } #inline-newsletter-nloptin-60f892156620d .inline-newsletter-subscribe__cta label { font-size:

View Source