US life expectancy fell again in 2021

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell again last year after a dramatic drop in 2020, according to research published April 7 in the medical preprint server MedRxiv.

CDC data shows U.S. life expectancy dropped from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020. The latest study, which has not been peer-reviewed, suggests life expectancy fell by another 0.4 years, or 4.8 months, in 2021 during the pandemic's second year.

"Although the introduction and availability of effective vaccines were expected to curb U.S. mortality rates in 2021, slow vaccine uptake and the spread of the delta variant produced large surges in mortality," researchers wrote. 

In 2020, Black and Hispanic populations saw the largest decrease in life expectancy. Researchers found these rates held steady in 2021, with only the white population experiencing a drop in life expectancy.

View the full study here.

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