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Life Expectancy Is At A Two-Decade Low, And COVID Isn’t The Only Reason Why

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U.S. life expectancy is at a two-decade low and drug overdoses have risen five times in the last 20 years, two annual reports released Thursday by the Center for Disease Control revealed.

The CDC released a similar report in August that indicated average life expectancy had fallen by 2.7 from 2019 to 2021. In 2021 alone, however, the CDC determined American life expectancy dropped from 77 to 76.4 years due to COVID-19 and increases in drug overdoses.

“In 2021, a total of 3,464,231 resident deaths were registered in the United States—80,502 more deaths than in 2020,” the report stated. “The number of deaths for which COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death increased 18.8% from 350,831 in 2020 to 416,893 in 2021.”

Males’ life expectancy decreased slightly more than females by a difference of 5.8 years. Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) females had the highest death rate increase at 7.3%, with non-Hispanic white males coming in second at 7.2%, with AIAN males and black men still ranking at the top for overall deaths in 2021.

The CDC’s second report showed an increase in drug overdoses in all age categories of adults 25 and over between 2020 and 2021. Adults aged 34-44 had the highest rates at 53.9 per 100,000 but the 65 and over category saw the largest overall increase from 2020 to 2021 by 28%.

Fentanyl saw a sharp increase in overdoses in 2021, along with several other synthetic opioids, while heroin decreased by 32% and methadone remained stable at 1.1%. Overall, drug overdoses have climbed alarmingly high over the past few decades with males still falling into the top category in the age range of 34-44.

“In 2021, 106,699 deaths occurred, resulting in an age-adjusted rate of 32.4 per 100,000 standard population,” the CDC’s overdose report noted. “In both 2020 and 2021, rates were highest for non-Hispanic AIAN people; however, the greatest percentage increase in rates from 2020 to 2021 occurred for non-Hispanic NHOPI people.”

The top ten causes of death included cancer, COVID-19, unintentional injuries, Alzheimer’s, with heart disease remaining in the top spot.

The CDC did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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