Life Expectancy Drops For Second Straight Year, Lowest Since 1996
Nurses draw vaccine doses from a vial as Maryland residents receive their second dose of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at the Cameron Grove Community Center on March 25, 2021 in Bowie, Maryland.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Life expectancy in 2021 in the U.S. dropped for its second straight year, reaching its lowest level since 1996, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday.

The report from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the CDC, attributed the drop to increased deaths due to COVID as well as drug overdoses.

“What we’re seeing in terms of the patterns of mortality, it’s being driven, I think, largely by the pandemic,” said Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, according to CNN.

The life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2021 was 76.4 years, a decrease of 0.6 from 2020, according to key findings in the report.

In addition, age-specific death rates increased from 2020 to 2021 for each age group over one year of age. Heart disease, cancer, and COVID remained the top three leading causes of death across the nation.

Deaths due to drug overdose also accounted for nearly half of all unintentional injury deaths, the report added. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis became the ninth leading cause of death in 2021, the report added, while influenza and pneumonia dropped from the top ten leading causes.

The Daily Wire previously reported that New York was the state that experienced the largest drop in life expectancy in 2020. Life expectancy for New York residents plunged from 80.7 in 2019 to 77.7 in 2020, according to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics report.

Overall, the Empire State ranked 15th in overall life expectancy, with Mississippi ranking the lowest nationwide at just 71.9 years of life expectancy in 2020. At the top of the list is Hawaii, ranking at 80.7 years. With lower life expectancy across the board, the state was the only one to stand above the eight-decade mark.

The decline marks a concerning downward trend of life expectancy among Americans in comparison with other nations that show signs of bouncing back after the pandemic.

A study of 29 nations published in August found that the U.S. ranked 12th among mostly Western countries, significantly lower than Germany, Greece, and Estonia.

“While countries in western Europe experienced bounce backs from life expectancy losses of 2020, eastern Europe and the United States witnessed sustained and substantial life expectancy deficits,” the study noted.

Males were more affected by excess deaths, according to the study of 29 nations.

“The biggest increase in the sex gap was observed in the United States, where the gap increased by almost a year,” the study found.

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