The United States experienced a notable increase in life expectancy during 2022, marking a recovery from the pandemic’s impact, but the figures still fall short of pre-pandemic levels.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), life expectancy in the U.S. is now estimated at 77 years and 6 months.
This improvement is primarily attributed to the reduction in COVID-19 deaths, yet it only brings the metric back to where it stood approximately two decades ago. Life expectancy, a critical measure of a nation’s health, reflects the average lifespan a newborn might expect under current death rates.
The upward trend in U.S. life expectancy seen over the past several decades witnessed a halt about ten years ago, due to factors like overdose deaths and suicides. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic further aggravated this decline, with life expectancy plummeting from 78 years and 10 months in 2019 to a low of 76 years and 5 months in 2021.
Alongside the decline in COVID-19 fatalities, the U.S. faces other pressing health crises, including record-high suicide rates and a persistent rise in drug overdose deaths. These challenges continue to impact the overall life expectancy, which remains lower compared to many other countries. Notably, life expectancy improvements in 2022 were uneven across racial and ethnic groups.
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