Aug 23, 2022 - Health

U.S. life expectancy fell in all states in 2020

Change in U.S. life expectancy at birth, 2019-2020
Data: Arias, et al., 2022, "U.S. State Life Tables, 2020"; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2019 to 2020 and fell nationally by 1.8 years, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Tuesday.

The big picture: The decline nationally and in states was mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in unintentional injuries, specifically drug overdose deaths.

By the numbers: The life expectancy at birth for the entire U.S. fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020.

  • In 2020, life expectancy was 74.2 years for males and 79.9 years for females.
  • New York had the largest change in life expectancy among all states and D.C., plummeting by three years to 77.7 years.
  • Hawaii had the smallest drop of 0.2 to 80.7 years, which was the highest life expectancy in the country.
  • Mississippi had the lowest life expectancy among the 50 states and D.C. that year, with residents of the state expected to live to 71.9 years.

The big picture: The CDC said that Southern states and D.C. were more likely to have lower life expectancies, as were Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and Oklahoma.

  • Western and Northeastern states were more likely to have higher life expectancies.
  • A study released in April 2022 showed that U.S. life expectancy likely again dropped in 2021. The researchers found that it fell by 0.4 of a year, leading to a net loss of 2.26 years over 2020 and 2021.

Go deeper: CDC takes a small step toward fixing America's public health system

Go deeper