Rising or Falling?
U.S. life expectancy continues to shorten — dropping by more than seven months in 2021, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Life expectancy for U.S.-born children is now 76.4 years, its lowest point in nearly two decades. Deaths caused by drug overdoses and COVID-19 infections were key contributors to the decline, the CDC data showed. COVID-19 took nearly 417,000 lives in 2021 — more than in 2020 — and for the second year was the third leading cause of deaths.
This week, Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Robert Califf also noted another reason why U.S. life expectancy is lagging behind other high-income countries' figures: medical misinformation on the internet, something he said he aims to root out.
If you're wondering what life expectancy was the year you were born and how it’s changed, the numbers going back to 1940 tell the tale.
Related: Can You Guess the Minimum Wage the Year You Were Born?