Sep 2, 2022 - Health

Some racial groups saw steeper life expectancy drops, CDC data shows

U.S. life expectancy at birth
Data: National Center for Health Statistics; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

One of the more shocking elements from life expectancy data released earlier this week by the CDC was just how much some racial and ethnic groups saw their expected life span shorten.

Driving the news: American Indians and Alaska Natives saw their life expectancy fall six and a half years in the first two years of the pandemic to just over 65 years.

  • For perspective, that's what the life expectancy of the total U.S. population was in 1944, the CDC said.

Life expectancy between 2019 and 2021 fell 4.2 years for the Hispanic population, four years for the non-Hispanic Black population, 2.4 years for the non-Hispanic white population and 2.1 years for the non-Hispanic Asian population.

What they're saying: "There is nothing weird or unusual about our population," Ann Bullock, a former director of diabetes treatment and prevention at the federal Indian Health Services agency and a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, told the New York Times.

  • "This is simply what happens biologically to populations that are chronically and profoundly stressed and deprived of resources," she said, per the Times.
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