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article imageLife expectancy in the U.S. experiences major drop

By Tim Sandle     Jan 15, 2021 in Health
Life expectancy has shown a significant drop in the U.S. While the fall is across all ethnic groups, it is the Black and Latino community that shows the most marked decline.
A study from the University of Southern California reveals that life expectancy at birth for U.S. citizens will decline by 1.13 years to 77.48 years. This stark figure represents the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in over forty years. The coronavirus pandemic is one of the significant contributors to this drop. Furthermore, the U.S. has now recorded the lowest life expectancy estimate since more detailed records have been collated, from 2003.
Within the headline figure, there are variations across ethnic groups, with the fall for the Black population and Latino population being the greatest. With those classed as 'Black' within U.S. census data, life expectancy is projected to decline by 2.10 years to 72.78 years. In addition, for Latinos the drop is even greater, declining by 3.05 years to 78.77 years.
For the White population, the fall is far less (although there is a decline). For this majority ethnic group, the calculated decline is 0.68 years. This takes this population to a life expectancy of 77.84 years. It is of societal concern that the gap between Blacks and Whites is projected to widen by 40 percent and is projected to become 5 years. This is a sign of inequality within the U.S. population, and one that generally mirrors economic and social advantage.
Assessing life expectancy is never 'exact'. The measure is a statistically derived average of the) time a human is expected to live, based on the year of birth, current age, and other demographic factors including gender. This is what the researchers have done, taking into account the current health emergency.
In terms of the contribution of the betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, this has taken over 336,000 lives in the U.S. alone. This large number has been used to help make the assessment.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact upon the Black and Latino community. Worse health outcomes may related to the type of occupation, family contacts, and the quality of healthcare as a reflection of income. Prior to the pandemic, data trends suggested that the gap was narrowing.
The data has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research paper is titled "Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations."
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