Your Guide To The Great Shrinking American Life Span

Your Guide To The Great Shrinking American Life Span Pixabay

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In the aftermath of a deadly pandemic, it might not be surprising to learn that the life expectancy of Americans has trended downward in recent years. Experts, however, don’t think COVID-19 is the only culprit.

After a decrease in the expected life span in both 2020 and 2021, research shows that this is the most precipitous decline since the massive loss of life associated with World War II. Making matters worse, minorities — particularly Black, Hispanic, and indigenous groups — saw bigger declines than the overall population.

From 2019 to this year, the life expectancy for Americans has dipped from 79 years to just 76, which marks the lowest it’s been since the 1990s. While some other first-world countries have seen their respective expected life spans start to rebound, America might continue its current trajectory for some years to come.

After a long period of annual increases, the first dip in life expectancy actually came before COVID-19 and was attributed to serious health issues including heart attacks and strokes. When researchers studied 21 wealthy nations, only the U.S. and Israel registered a decline in life expectancy last year.

Urban Institute Health Policy Center senior fellow Laudan Aron put the statistics into stark terms, asserting: “The fact we cannot translate our economic wealth into protecting our population and ensuring that everybody has a fair chance to live a long and healthy and productive life is a real failure.”


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