August 29, 2022

Life Expectancy Fell during COVID Pandemic, Especially for Hispanic and Black Males

A study published Tuesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) has found that life expectancy in the U.S. fell by 4.5 and 3.6 years for Hispanic and Black males, respectively, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. White Americans also saw their life expectancy decline, by 1.5 years.

Researchers say the reasons behind the life-expectancy disparities could include social inequality, crowded housing, low access to preventive information, and the disproportionate number of racial minorities who had to continue working outside the home in jobs that put them at higher risk for infection.

“It is important that public health officials consider the increased risk factors for Hispanic and Black Americans when implementing their disease prevention policies at the local level,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We must continue to make our resources, such as vaccines and educational materials, easily accessible where they are most needed.”

The average life expectancy in the U.S. nationally dropped by nearly two years in 2020, to 77 years from 78.8 in 2019. New York State saw the biggest drop in life expectancy from 2019 to 2020: three years. Hawaii had the smallest change, 0.2 years.

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