For the second straight year, US life expectancy dropped, according to the CDC. It is now the lowest it has been in 25 years.
As per the 2021 data, Americans are expected to live 76.4 years, down from a peak of 78.8 years in 2019.
The finalised numbers confirm preliminary ones released by the CDC in August, in which the health agency predicted the worst two-year decline of life expectancy on record in the US since 1923.
Life expectancy in the US remains lower than the UK, where the average is 80.8 years. It is also lower than neighbouring Canada, where life expectancy as of 2020 is 81.75 years.
Of both countries, the US spends the highest amount of money on healthcare. Per capita, the US pays $12,318 (£10,217), while the UK spends $5,387. Canada’s healthcare spending, in comparison, sits at $5,511 per capita.
Covid-19 and drug overdoses are being blamed from the drop.
“COVID-19 deaths contributed to nearly three-fourths, or 74%, of the decline from 2019 to 2020, and 50% of the decline from 2020 to 2021.”
Drug overdose deaths are also a factor. They now account for more than a third of all accidental deaths in the US, the data shows. Overall, overdose deaths have risen by 16% from 2020.
This includes deaths involving fentanyl, which increased by 22% in 2021.
While the pandemic effect should slowly decrease, there’s no sign that the drug issue will follow.