U.S. life expectancy fell in first half of 2020 as COVID-19 deaths surged

Deaths tied to the COVID-19 pandemic shaved a year off the life expectancy of Americans during the first half of last year, CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports. At the end of June 2020, life expectancy at birth had slipped from 78.8 years down to 77.8 years based on provisional estimates, the country's lowest point since 2006.

Deaths tied to the COVID-19 pandemic shaved a year off the life expectancy of Americans during the first half of last year, CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports. At the end of June 2020, life expectancy at birth had slipped from 78.8 years down to 77.8 years based on provisional estimates, the country's lowest point since 2006. The trend was especially impactful among minorities, with life expectancy shrinking by 2.7 years to age 72 years for Blacks and by 1.9 years to age 79.9 for Hispanics. By comparison, life expectancy for non-Hispanic Whites settled at 78 years—off by 0.8 years but now 6 years longer than Black Americans. In the 2 years prior to the public health emergency, Americans were living longer; but deaths from coronavirus, coupled with a jump in drug-related mortality, reversed the trend. Once full-year data are released, probably around this May or June, demographers believe analysis will show that life expectancy actually may have fallen by as many as 3 years in 2020.