Life expectancy dropped by 3 years for US men and 2.3 years for US women between 2019 and 2021, according to provisional life expectancy data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

During this period, US life expectancy dropped to about 73 years for men and to about 79 years for women, the lowest levels since 1996. Three-quarters of overall life expectancy lost during this period was attributed to COVID-19 deaths, according to a CDC statement. The deaths contributed to a growing gap in life expectancy between US men and women, which increased from 4.8 years in 2010—the lowest ever recorded—to about 6 years in 2021.

Unintentional injuries, about half of which were drug overdose deaths, were the second leading cause of lost life expectancy among US men and women between 2020 and 2021. A staggering 109 000 overdose deaths were recorded in the US between March 2021 and March 2022, according to the CDC statement. Suicide, chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, and homicide also contributed to lost life expectancy among men between 2020 and 2021. Heart disease, stroke, and chronic liver disease contributed to reduced life expectancy for women.

Life expectancy at birth,by sex: US 2000-2021

Reduced deaths primarily from influenza, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases helped offset life expectancy losses for both men and women.

American Indian and Alaska Native individuals experienced the largest decrease in life expectancy—from 67 years to 65 years—of any racial or ethnic group between 2020 and 2021. Non-Hispanic White individuals had the second largest decline, from about 77 years to about 76 years. Life expectancy for Black individuals dropped about 8 months, to a little more than 70.5 years during this period. Hispanic individuals, who had a 4-year drop in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020, experienced a 2.5-month decline between 2020 and 2021, to about 78 years. Life expectancy among Asian people dropped about 1 month, to 83.5 years during this period.

From JAMA. The entire report is below.