Life expectancy down by 1.5 years in the US. Lowest since the WWII

·2-min read
Life expectancy down by 1.5 years in the US
Life expectancy down by 1.5 years in the US

In times of the pandemic, the United States is witnessing the largest drop in life expectancy since the second world war. The Black and Hispanic population in the country saw the largest declines as per the data released by the government on Wednesday.

The reduction in life expectancy

Life expectancy reduced by 1.5 years last year and is now at 77.3 years in the United States. According to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, it is the lowest since 2003. Previously life expectancy was reduced by 2.9 years during the second world war, between 1942 and 1943.

“The numbers are devastating. The declines that we see, particularly among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black population, are massive,” said Chantel Martin. Martin is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The expectancy for the Hispanic population reduced by three years and is 78.8 years now. Additionally, Hispanic men had a devastating drop of 3.7 years. Moreover, the non-Hispanic black population saw a drop of 2.9 years making it at 71.8 years. Similarly, the non-Hispanic white population in the US had a year’s drop. However, the deaths due to coronavirus contributed to almost 74 percent of the decline in people’s life expectancy in the US alone. The rest 11 percent was attributed to deaths from injuries, accidents, and overdose.

The reason behind the devastating drop

Health experts and researchers believe that the data is proof of how the pandemic has affected people of color. “We were sounding the alarm early on. The data reflects directly the longstanding structural racism in this country and how that disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic communities. It impacts where they live, work, and play and ultimately impacted the risk of dying from COVID-19,” said Martin.

According to the CDC data, African Americans had 2.9 times higher death rates compared to white Americans’ death in hospitals. Native Americans and Hispanics had 3.3 and 2.8 times hospitalization rates respectively. Additionally, they had a 2.4 and 2.3 times higher death rate.

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