U.S. Life Expectancy: Not At Pre-Pandemic Levels

November 29, 2023

The extent to which life expectancy has recovered is far short of what people had hoped.

Jacob Bor, associate professor of global health and epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health said after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent release of Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2022.

Why It Matters: According to the CDC, the average life expectancy in the U.S. now lies at 77.5 years old, increasing by slightly over a year since 2021 and marking the first increase in two years. The report says this increase “…primarily resulted from decreases in mortality due to COVID-19, heart disease, unintentional injuries, cancer, and homicide.”

However, this did not offset the loss of life expectancy experienced in prior years. U.S. life expectancy sits equal to 2003 levels. The CDC explains, “the increase in life expectancy would have been greater if not for the offsetting effects of increases in mortality due to influenza and pneumonia, perinatal conditions, kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies, and congenital malformations.”

These impacts vary by race and sex. For Hispanic individuals, the average life expectancy is 80, for American Indians and Alaska Natives, 67.9, for Asian Americans, 84.5, for Black Americans, 72.8, and for White Americans, 77.5. 

Something to Consider: According to data from The World Bank, the life expectancies in some other NATO countries include 82 years in France, 83 years in Canada, 82 years in Belgium, 81 in the United Kingdom, and 83 in Spain.

Read More:

U.S. life expectancy starts to recover after sharp pandemic decline (NPR)

Read the CDC’s Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2022

U.S. life expectancy rose in 2022, but not enough to erase the pandemic’s toll (NBC News)

Life expectancy at birth, total (years) (The World Bank)

by Sarah Pinkerton,