Life expectancy in US rises, but results of new CDC report remain mixed

Atlanta, Georgia - Americans' life expectancy rose in 2022 after two years of sharp decline, although it did not return to pre-pandemic levels, health officials said Wednesday.

A new CDC report on life expectancy in the US shows a 1.1-year rise in 2022 that was not enough to offset the drop between 2019 and 2021.
A new CDC report on life expectancy in the US shows a 1.1-year rise in 2022 that was not enough to offset the drop between 2019 and 2021.  © 123RF/nijieimu

Life expectancy at birth in the United States rose by 1.1 year between 2021 and 2022, and stood at 77.5 years, according to initial estimates from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

"The increase... primarily resulted from decreases in mortality due to Covid-19," the CDC said in a statement.

However, the gain "does not fully offset the loss of 2.4 years of life expectancy between 2019 and 2021 that resulted mostly from increases in excess deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic," the agency said.

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In 2022, the average life expectancy in the US hit a two-decade low. Before Covid, Americans were expected to live to the age of 78.8.

At the same time, the drop in mortality linked to Covid-19 last year was partly offset by an increase in mortality connected to flu or pneumonia, according to CDC.

Huge disparaties between life expectancy for different groups

The gap in life expectancy between men and women narrowed slightly in 2022, to 5.4 years. Last year American women had a life expectancy of 80.2 years, compared to 74.8 for men.

Native Americans had the lowest life expectancy in 2022 of 67.9 years, compared to 72.8 for Black people, 77.5 for whites, 80 for Hispanic people, and 84.5 for Asians.

In a separate report, the CDC said that the number of suicides continued to climb in 2022 and reached nearly 50,000 cases, or 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest since 1941, according to preliminary figures.

The suicide rate has risen sharply in the US since 2000, despite a slight decline in 2019 and 2020.

Last year, the government relaunched the national suicide prevention hotline with a simple three-digit number, 988, to help for people in distress.

Cover photo: 123RF/nijieimu

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