Life Expectancy drops again in United States




According to this recent article from Stat, life expectancies in America have dropped and the gap between Men’s life expectancies and Women’s life expectancies continues to widen.  The statistics show that men now have life expectancies 5.8 years less than women.


Overall United States life expectancies have dropped from 78.8 years in 2019, to  77.0 in 2020, to 76.1 years in 2021 — the last year for total statistics.  Women are now expected to live 79.1 years and men are expected to live 73.2 years. . . . That gap is the largest gap since 1996.


According to this research article from Harvard, “The pandemic, which took a disproportionate toll on men, was the biggest contributor to the widening gap from 2019-2021, followed by unintentional injuries and poisonings (mostly drug overdoses), accidents, and suicide.”


There’s been a lot of research into the decline in life expectancy in recent years, but no one has systematically analyzed why the gap between men and women has been widening since 2010,” said first author Brandon Yan, a UCSF internal medicine resident physician and research collaborator at Harvard Chan School.


According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) you can see from this graphic that the United States now rates behind countries such as Estonia, the Slovak Republic, Columbia, and China, in life expectancy of children born today.  Sweden at 81.5 years and Switzerland at 81.6 years have the longest life expectancy for their citizens at this time.


Related Information —  This recent article from Vox followed and analyzed a Princeton study over the last decade.  This study followed death rates in the United States and the recent “Deaths of Despair” from suicide and opioid deaths as well as the decline in life expectancy from Covid-19.  It also studied the life expectancies of “the educated” and the “not so educated”.


Here’s what the Vox article suggests, “the divergence between high school dropouts and the rest of the country does not seem to be caused by “deaths of despair.” There is no doubt that the opioid epidemic in particular has wrought spectacular damage in the US. But some researchers are finding that stagnating progress against cardiovascular disease is an even bigger contributor to US life expectancy stalling out, and to mortality divides between the most- and least-educated Americans.”


Here’s another quote from that article, “. . . the overall life expectancy problem in the US also has far more to do than we often recognize with stagnating progress against cardiovascular disease, which is still the leading cause of death in the US. Researchers Neil Mehta, Leah Abrams, and Mikko Myrskylä argued in a 2020 paper that the dominant reason life expectancy has stalled in the US is not that drug deaths have grown but that a previously large, robust decline in deaths from cardiovascular disease has stalled out.” 


The Vox article suggests that one of the long-term challenges to reversing the trend of shorter life expectancy in America may be   “a very specific challenge that policymakers must confront: How to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease (and also cancer) among the poorest, least-educated Americans.”


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

Funeral Director Daily take:  I’m not a politician and I know that they have lots on their plates.  However, when you look at America you see the vast resources we have for getting things done in the field of health.  It’s no surprise that when a vaccine was needed for Covid-19 the resources we were able to put in the fight and the medical knowledge America had at her disposal produced a vaccine in a very short period of time.


I also realize America is a “free country” and each adult can make, within the law, the decisions that they want to make.  However, it does disappoint me that the poorest, least educated Americans suffer lower life-expectancy because, for whatever reason, they don’t seem to understand, follow, or otherwise use the knowledge available to them.


I don’t know how to solve the problem, but I find it sad that one of the most medically advanced countries on the planet has life expectancies that are virtually a decade shorter than some other countries.


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