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Life expectancy in US dropped by nearly 2 years in 2020, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters (Dreamstime/TNS)

Life expectancy dropped in 2020 by nearly two years across the United States — mostly due to COVID-19 and drug overdoses, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics on Tuesday released its annual report looking at mortality in the U.S. The report analyzed death data in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) for 2020, the last year for which data is available.

Results found that from 2019 to 2020, life expectancy in the nation declined from 0.2 to three years across all states and D.C.

Overall, life expectancy in the U.S. in 2020 was 77 years — a decline of 1.8 years from 2019.

The states with the greatest decreases include those in the Southwest and U.S.-Mexico border area — Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas — as well as Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, as well as D.C.

The lowest decline in life expectancy was registered in nearly all New England states, except for Connecticut, as well as Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii.

According to the CDC, that number was mostly driven by COVID-19 and “increases in unintentional injuries,” such as drug overdose deaths.

Mississippi had the lowest life expectancy (71.9 years) in the nation in 2020, according to the report, while Hawaii had the highest in the country, at 80.7 years.

Hawaii also had the lowest decline in life expectancy — just 0.2 years — while New York state saw the biggest decrease, dropping three years in 2020.

The report also looked at how the data relates to gender. It found that life expectancy at birth was higher for females in all states and D.C.

The highest difference in life expectancy between females and males was seven years in D.C. The lowest was found in Utah, at 3.9 years. Overall, the male-female difference averaged at 5.7 years across the U.S.


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