The average life expectancy for an American fell for the second year in a row, dropping from 77 to 76.4 years for people born in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Life expectancy had been climbing in recent years and peaked at 78.8 years in 2019, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A rise in deaths attributed to COVID-19 and drug overdoses fueled the decrease, according to the report, while heart disease and cancer remain the leading causes of death.
While U.S. life expectancy remains higher than the global average, the nation trails other countries with large economies like the United Kingdom and South Korea.
How is life expectancy different between men and women? Life expectancy for American men dropped from 74.2 to 73.5 in 2021, while life expectancy for women dropped from 79.9 to 79.3 in 2021.
Experts attribute the gap in average lifespan to differences in biology, behavior, and predisposition to illnesses.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.