Intended for healthcare professionals


US life expectancy plunged in 2020, especially in Hispanic and African Americans

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 22 July 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1873
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Life expectancy in the United States fell by 1.5 years in 2020 as the covid pandemic battered the country, exposing stark disparities that saw black and Hispanic Americans die at far higher rates than white Americans.

Life expectancy at birth in all Americans fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 last year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.1 Among white Americans it fell from 78.8 to 77.6 years, a drop of 1.2 years. Among Hispanic Americans it fell from 81.8 to 78.8 years, a decline of 3.0 years. Among black Americans it fell from 74.7 to 71.8 years, a decline of 2.9 years.

In 2019, white Americans lived an average of 4.1 years longer than black Americans. Last year that gap increased to 5.8 years.

Overall US life expectancy slid …

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