U.S. life expectancy fell by 1 1/2 years in 2020, largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The drop in life expectancy at birth, from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020, was in part caused by the increase in mortality from the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC noted. The data found that the coronavirus was responsible for 73.8 percent of the overall decline in life expectancy.
Approximately 3.3 million Americans died in 2020, according to the CDC, 375,000 of whom died as a result of COVID-19.
Drug overdoses and an increase in homicides also played a role in U.S. life expectancy falling.
The drop in life expectancy was larger among Black Americans and Hispanic Americans, who saw decreases of 2.9 years and 3 years, respectively.
The life expectancy for Black Americans in 2020 was 71.8 years and 78.8 years for Hispanic Americans.
The reduction in life expectancy for Black Americans was the largest one-year drop seen since the mid-1930s, amid the Great Depression, according to The Associated Press. The CDC has not monitored Hispanic Americans' life expectancy as long, but the one-year drop recorded in 2020 was reportedly the largest ever seen.
Experts say the drop in life expectancy for Black Americans and Hispanic Americans may have been caused by a lack of access to strong health care, crowded living conditions and a greater portion of those populations working in low-paying jobs that required them to continue working amid the pandemic, the AP reported.