Life expectancy in the US has fallen for the second consecutive year as Covid-19 and overdoses increased mortality rates. An empire's death may start with its people, and as the world shifts, China, an emerging power, has a life expectancy that is above the US and widening.
According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans' life expectancy fell .9 years to 76.1 years in 2021 - the lowest since 1996.
The year prior, life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years.
The combined figures were the largest two-year decline since the 1920s.
Not every demographic group saw the same changes, the researchers found. Asian-Americans have the highest life expectancy of any group - 83.5 years - and only saw a 0.1 year decline from 2020. Meanwhile, Black Americans lost 0.7 years between 2020 to 2021.
But American Indian and Native Americans saw the largest loss of life expectancy of all - 1.9 years less than 2020’s life expectancy, and 6.6 years less than 2019’s. They also had the lowest life expectancy among the groups studied.
While COVID is the leading cause (accounting for 50%) of shortened US life expectancy, the opioid crisis worsened last year and claimed the lives of 108,000.
Although deaths from heart disease were the third biggest contributor to the decline in life expectancy, the number of people dying from this condition actually decreased.
“With heart disease, we did see increases in mortality at younger ages — from ages 35 to 64 in particular,” Robert Anderson, the chief of the mortality statistics branch of the National Center for Health Statistics said.
America appears to have a crisis of early deaths, but on the opposite side of the world, China's life expectancy seems to be improving.
"It also means that the gap in longevity at birth between people in the US and China has now widened to a full year," Quartz reported. Data from the CDC and OECD of life expectancies between both countries provides a visualization of the widening gap.
Quartz noted that Chinese data on 2021 life expectancy has yet to be published, though it pointed out there was a .2-year improvement in 2020 versus the prior year. It said China averted a mortality crisis because of the zero-Covid strategy. However, if this is true, this comes at the expense of the economy, which is sliding into turmoil.
What comes to mind is that no one should take Chinese data for face value and there has yet to be 2021 data released. As for the US, early mortality for the world's largest superpower is an essential indicator of the population's health status. Increasing early deaths will have socioeconomic consequences as the economy is structured mainly for consumerism.