Report: US Life Expectancy Lowest in 25 Years

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday that the US has reached its lowest life expectancy since 1996, with an increase in death rate of 5.3% between 2020 and 2021.

Report: US Life Expectancy Lowest in 25 Years
Image credit: Stefani Reynolds/AFP

Facts

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Thursday that the US has reached its lowest life expectancy since 1996, with an increase in death rate of 5.3% between 2020 and 2021.
  • COVID-related deaths had the largest death rate increase, followed closely by accidental injuries, which include overdoses. Deaths caused by liver disease, kidney disease, strokes, and heart disease increased as well.
  • Life expectancy for American-born people now sits at 76.4 years and is down 2.4 years from 78.8 years in 2019. This is a vast divergence from 20 years of steadily increasing life expectancy in the US.
  • Mortality rates rose for every age demographic except for infants younger than one. The largest increase in mortality rates were among those ages 35 to 44, the group most affected by overdoses.
  • Nearly 107k Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021 according to the CDC’s final figures. The number of overdose deaths increased by 16% in 2021, up from 92k in 2020, continuing an increasing trend over the past few years.
  • The trend of increasing overdose deaths is part of a wider cause for concern as life expectancy in the US decreased for the second consecutive year. Adjusting for age, drug overdoses are up over 50% since 2020.

Sources: ABC, Axios, CNN, and Fox9.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by NPR Online News. COVID, the leading cause of reduced life expectancy in the US, has brought devastation upon the nation and the entire world. Americans have sacrificed for over two years as they battle the global pandemic, and it's disheartening to see its effects. However, with advances in science and resilience, the country can reverse this trend.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by American Greatness. Politicians may choose to focus on COVID deaths, but the real concern is the increase in deaths of despair like suicide and drug overdoses. In fact, botched COVID policies — and the widespread deterioration in mental health that ensued — are even largely to blame for exacerbating the issue. The nation's leaders can no longer afford to ignore the drugs, alcohol and suicide epidemic raging within the pandemic.