“The decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 can primarily be attributed to deaths from the pandemic,” the report reads. Covid deaths accounted for nearly 75% of the decline. More than 609,000 Americans have died in the pandemic so far, roughly 375,000 of those lives were lost last year, according to the CDC.
About 11% of the decline stems from a rise in deaths from accidents or unintentional injuries. Drug overdose deaths, which spiked 30% during the pandemic, made up about one-third of unintentional injuries last year.
Life expectancy for American males declined 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020, while life expectancy for American women dropped by 1.2 years from 2019.
“The difference in life expectancy between the sexes was 5.7 years in 2020, increasing from 5.1 in 2019, the report read.
“Covid-19 was responsible for 90% of the decline in life expectancy for the Hispanic population,” the report reads.
The narrowing of the life expectancy gap between the white population and the Hispanic population “is a stark indicator of worsening health and mortality outcomes for a population that paradoxically has been, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, able to defy expectations consistent with its disadvantaged socioeconomic profile,” the report read.
Black Americans experienced the second-largest decline in life expectancy with a drop of almost 3 years from 74.7 years in 2019 to 71.8 years in 2020, the lowest since 2000, according to the report. Covid-19 was responsible for 59% of the drop in life expectancy among Blacks.
Among white Americans, life expectancy fell 1.2 years in 2020 from 78.8 years in 2020 to 77.6 years, the lowest since 2002. Covid-19 was responsible for 68% of the life expectancy drop among whites last year.
Covid-19 was the third-leading cause of death last year, and “overall death rates were highest among non-Hispanic Black persons and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons,” the CDC said in its provisional mortality report in April.