Apr 8, 2022 - Health

U.S. life expectancy drops — again

Illustration of a ripping medical sign

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The average U.S. life expectancy has fallen by more than two years in 2020 and 2021, according to a new study, not yet peer-reviewed.

By the numbers: There was a historically high drop in estimated life expectancy in 2020, from about 78.9 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, a fall of 1.9 years, the study led by the University of Colorado Boulder found.

  • Life expectancy dropped by another 0.4 of a year in 2021, they found, leading to a net loss of 2.26 years over the two-year period.
  • In comparison, a collection of 19 peer countries averaged a 0.4-year decrease in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 and a 0.28-year increase between 2020 and 2021, with a net loss of 0.3 years over the two-year period.
Go deeper