U.S. life expectancy disadvantage has worsened over the past four decades, study shows

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3rd June 2023 – (Washington) A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday has revealed that the United States‘ life expectancy disadvantage began in the 1950s and has steadily worsened over the past four decades. The study also shows that more than 50 countries have surpassed the U.S. in life expectancy since 1933, with growth being slowest in Midwest and South Central states.

The country’s life expectancy problem gained renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, after seeing the largest drop since World War II. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US life expectancy dropped to 76.1 years in 2021, the lowest since 1996.

Study author Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, said, “The scale of the problem is bigger than we ever thought … older than we thought, (and) the number of countries outperforming the United States is much larger than we thought.”