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US life expectancy in 2020 saw the largest drop since WWII

Officials blame COVID-19 for the decrease in life expectancy last year.

Updated: July 21, 2021 - 5:16pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Health officials said Wednesday that life expectancy in the United States fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the drop was mainly due to COVID-19, with health officials saying the pandemic is responsible for close to 74% of the life expectancy decline, according to the Associated Press.

The life expectancy in 2019 was approximately 78 years, 10 months, while a year later, it was roughly 77 years, 4 months.

Officials said the life expectancy of black and Hispanic people had a more considerable decline in life expectancy, falling by three years.

Elizabeth Arias, the report's lead author, said other factors caused the life expectancy decline. She said drug overdoses played a part, particularly in white people, while rising homicide rates played a role in the decrease for black people.