The coronavirus pandemic and other factors including an epidemic of synthetic opioid addiction and an increase in other so-called “deaths of despair” – from suicide and alcohol-related liver disease – has caused life expectancy at birth to decline in the U.S. by 1.5 years between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (These are the states with the most fentanyl deaths.)
About 74% of the decline is attributed to the more than one million Americans who have died from Covid-19, while 11% is attributed to unintentional deaths, mostly from the drug overdoses that killed more than 93,000 people in the United States in 2020. Homicides and complications linked to diabetes were also contributing factors.
Life expectancy at birth is a scientific estimation of how many years a newborn in any given year will live. It’s a key metric in gauging public health trends, both long-term, like obesity, and temporary, such as wars and pandemics. Black and Hispanic Americans tend to live a few years less than the average of 77.3 years in 2020, and women tend to live a few years longer than men. People with health insurance usually live longer, too, since they are more likely to pursue preventative healthcare that can catch illnesses before they become terminal. (See how the fall in U.S. life expectancy compares to that of other wealthy nations.)
To identify the states where people live the longest, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Center for Disease Control’s National Vital Statistics Reports for each state’s life expectancy at birth in 2020, published August 23rd, 2022. Change in life expectancy in years from 2019 also comes from the CDC. The percentage of the population without health insurance and the total population come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2020 5-year statistics.
Click here to see the states where people live the longest
Not only your gender but where you’re born can definitely affect your lifespan. For example, the average life expectancy at birth across genders in six states is 79 years or more, while
the number for females in Hawaii is nearly 84 years, and males in Mississippi on average won’t see their 69th birthday.
And while all states experienced a decline in life expectancy at birth in 2020, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arizona, and Mississippi saw it drop by 2.5 to 3 years. Vermont, Washington, Oregon, and New Hampshire, joined Hawaii – the leader in life expectancy – in having the lowest declines in 2020.
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