- Life Expectancy Today
- Life Expectancy at Birth
- Changes Based on Age
- COVID Impact
- Causes for Decline
What is the life expectancy today?
The life expectancy in the United States, before COVID, was 78.7 years, and the current life expectancy for World in 2021 is 72.81 years, a 0.24% increase from 2020.
- The life expectancy for World in 2020 was 72.63 years, a 0.24% increase from 2019.
- The life expectancy for World in 2019 was 72.46 years, a 0.24% increase from 2018.
- The life expectancy for World in 2018 was 72.28 years, a 0.39% increase from 2017.
The researchers found life expectancy in the United States had been increasing for several decades, rising from 69.9 years in 1959 to 78.9 years in 2014.
- However, the researchers found that improvements in the life expectancy began to slow down in the 1980s, then leveled off and started to reverse after 2014.
- According to the researchers, the life expectancy in the United States declined for 3 consecutive years, falling from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2017.
What do you mean by life expectancy at birth?
Life expectancy at birth is defined as how long, on average, a newborn can expect to live if current death rates do not change. Life expectancy at birth is one of the most frequently used health status indicators.
- However, the actual age-specific death rate of any birth cohort (a group of people born during a particular period of the year) cannot be known in advance.
- If rates are falling, actual life spans will be higher than life expectancy calculated using current death rates.
- Gains in life expectancy at birth can be attributed to several factors, including rising living standards, improved lifestyle and better education, as well as greater access to quality health services. This indicator is presented as a total and per gender and is measured in years.
Why does life expectancy change based on age?
Life expectancy is the number of years on average a person is expected to live based on their age, gender and country.
- The Global Burden of Disease calculates life expectancy by using a country's mortality rates across age groups.
- Life expectancy may vary for people of different ages because it is calculated as the number of years a person is expected to live given they have already reached a certain age.
For example, a girl born in 2016 in Mexico is expected to live to 79 years of age. However, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old woman in Mexico in 2016 is 84 years. Her life expectancy is higher because she has already reached 65 years and is, therefore, more likely to live another 20 years.
Did COVID impact life expectancy?
The novel coronavirus could end up impacting life expectancies by anywhere between 1 and 9 years in various parts of the world according to a study on the long-term population-level impact of the virus. In all prevalence scenarios, if the Covid-19 infection prevalence rate remains below 1 or 2 percent, Covid-19 would not substantially affect life expectancy. Studies have reported that life expectancy would drop.
- By 3 to 9 years in North America and Europe
- By 3 to 8 years in Latin America and the Caribbean
- By 2 to 7 years in Southeastern Asia
- By 1 to 4 years in sub-Saharan Africa.
The impact of Covid-19 on the period life expectancy would be lower in Southeastern Asia and even much lower in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study reported that the Covid-19 pandemic could wipe out gains that countries have made in life expectancy over many decades with health system strengthening, vaccines, ensuring equity in healthcare delivery and many such measures. According to the study, there will be no impact on life expectancy if the incidence level is low (very few new cases). In regions with high life expectancy (80s), the trend of that number increasing would be broken only at a threshold incidence of 2 percent, the study states.
What are the other possible causes for declining life expectancy?
According to the researchers, an increase in death rates largely stemmed from rising rates of deaths related to
- Alcohol misuse
- Drug overdoses
- Organ-system diseases including Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart and lung diseases, hypertension and stroke and injuries
- Suicides (depression)
The researchers also found that all-cause death rates were higher among men than among women, although the data show more women are dying from diseases that once were more common among men. For example, the researchers found the risk of death from drug overdoses increased by 485.8 percent among women who are 25 to 64 years old between 1999 and 2017 and by 350.6 percent among men in the same age group. In addition, the researchers found that women experienced a higher relative increase in the risk of death by suicide and from alcohol-related liver disease than men.
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