Coronavirus Pandemic Has Shortened American Life Expectancy By 1.13 Years

Coronavirus Pandemic Has Shortened American Life Expectancy By 1.13 YearsPA Images

The ongoing coronavirus health crisis is thought to have shortened American citizens’ life expectancy by 1.13 years.

With COVID-19 already taking the lives of over 388,000 people in the country, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) and Princeton now believe America’s life expectancy from birth now sits at 77.48 years.

The decline – described as the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in at least 40 years – is the US’ shortest life expectancy estimated since 2003.

Coronavirus USPA

Their research found that Black and Latino commmunities have taken a worse hit from the pandemic compared to their white counterparts. Black people’s life expectancy is projected to be 2.10 years shorter making it 72.78 years, while the Latino community has seen a 3.05 years deduction (now projected at 78.77 years), according to a press release issued by USC.

From this, the life expectancy gap between Black Americans and white Americans is expected to widen by 40% making it more than 5 years. Previously it was around 3.6 years.

Discussing their findings, study author Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, said:

Our study analyses the effect of this exceptional number of deaths on life expectancy for the entire nation, as well as the consequences for marginalized groups.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on the life expectancy of Black and Latino Americans likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer health care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes.

Theresa Andrasfay/Princeton University

Following the affects of the pandemic on life expectancies, there are concerns that COVID has ‘eliminated many of the gains made in closing the Black-white life expectancy gap since 2006’.

Part of the study reads, ‘COVID-19 is expected to reverse over 10 years of progress made in closing the Black−White gap in life expectancy and reduce the previous Latino mortality advantage by over 70%.’

Prior to the pandemic, the Latino community consistently experienced lower mortality than whites, something known as the ‘Latino Paradox’. They had a three year life expectancy advantage over their white counterparts.

The study continues, ‘Some reduction in life expectancy may persist beyond 2020 because of continued COVID-19 mortality and long-term health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic.’


Speaking about the Latino Paradox, study co-author Noreen Goldman, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Demography and Public Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, explained:

The huge decline in life expectancy for Latinos is especially shocking given that Latinos have lower rates than the white and Black populations of most chronic conditions that are risk factors for COVID-19.

She continued, ‘The generally good health of Latinos prior to the pandemic, which should have protected them from COVID-19, has laid bare the risks associated with social and economic disadvantage.’

The study backs up other reports of Black and Latino Americans experiencing a disproportionate burden of coronavirus infections and deaths across the globe.

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