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Life expectancy in the US crept up slightly in 2022, official data shows — but remains at a near 20-year low.

Figures from the CDC show someone born today can now expect to live 77 years and two-and-a-half months, up by just over a year from 2021, when the Covid pandemic was still raging.

It is the first time life expectancy has risen in two years, but the metric remains at its lowest level since 2003 — and trailed the level in 2019, before Covid struck, when it was 78 years and nine months.

Researchers warned today that the drops were a ‘flashing red light’ highlighting the declining health of the nation’s population — amid rising obesity rates.

The US life expectancy continues to lag behind those in its European peers, including Germany — where people born now can expect to live 81 years and eight months on average or five years longer than their US counterparts.

The above graph shows life expectancy in the US by year from 1980 to 2022. There has been a slight rise in the most recent year that data is available

The above graph shows life expectancy in the US by year from 1980 to 2022. There has been a slight rise in the most recent year that data is available

Though the US is recovering from a surge in Covid deaths, the country still ranks far below other developed nations. Even taking into account the recent increase in life expectancy, nations like Japan, France, and Sweden rank far higher

Though the US is recovering from a surge in Covid deaths, the country still ranks far below other developed nations. Even taking into account the recent increase in life expectancy, nations like Japan, France, and Sweden rank far higher

It also lags behind a swathe of other European countries including the UK, Austria, France and Switzerland.

In the UK, for comparison, men can expect to live four years longer than their US counterparts while women can expect to live three years longer.

The US life expectancy is also nearly five years less than in its neighbor Canada, where people born today can currently expect to live for 81 years and four months.

Dr Steven Woolf, a population health expert at Virginia Commonwealth University, told CNN: ‘Put simply, the fact that life expectancy in 2022 was lower than in 2019 means that Americans continue to die at higher rates than they did before the pandemic, despite the rebound.

‘We are hardly out of the woods.’

He added on the rise in deaths among children: ‘This is a red flashing light about the poor health status of Americans and how it now puts our children at risk.

‘This trend… is alarming nonetheless because it means that our children, our most cherished population, are less likely to survive to adulthood.’

The CDC’s report calculated life expectancy at birth based on the nearly 3.3million deaths recorded in 2022 — 184,300 lower than in 2021.

They also analyzed death rates by age group to reveal trends and whether rates were rising among certain groups.

The report did not give a reason for the uptick in life expectancy, although it did point to falling Covid fatality rates as more people have immunity from the virus.

Data showed Covid deaths fell 57 percent from 2021 to 2022 and that Covid dropped from being the third to fourth biggest killer in the US in the same period.

Heart disease and cancer remained the two biggest killers in the United States.

Unintentional injuries — such as car accidents — rose from fourth to become the third leading cause of death and kidney disease rose from the tenth to ninth spot.

Life expectancy in the US had pointed upward for decades — surging from an estimated 50 years in 1900 to nearly 77 by the turn of the century.

But after Covid struck life expectancy saw its biggest drop since World War II — dropping one year and six months between 2019 and 2020.

The record was set in 2014 when the average American was estimated to live for 78 years and ten months from birth.

The above shows life expectancy at birth across the US for the latest two years that data is available

The above shows life expectancy at birth across the US for the latest two years that data is available

The CDC said that the rise in life expectancy was partially driven by a dip in deaths from Covid

The CDC said that the rise in life expectancy was partially driven by a dip in deaths from Covid

The CDC report also looked at fatality rates in all age groups, which declined among older adults but rose among babies and young children.

Data on infant mortality showed the rate was 560.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2022, an increase of 3.1 percent on the previous year.

The rate also rose 12 percent among one to four-year-olds, from 25 to 28 deaths per 100,000 people, and seven percent for those aged five to 14 years from 14.3 to 15.3.

The report did not suggest what had caused the shift, although Dr Woolf has previously suggested that this is linked to increases in drug overdoses and car accidents in the age group for children. For babies, there have been mounting concerns over declines in US maternity care for years.

Dr Woolf said: ‘Importantly, these are the same causes of death that have been claiming the lives of young adults in their 20s.

‘What this means is that the causes of death that have been claiming the lives of young adults have now reached down to younger age groups, claiming the lives of teenagers.’

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Post source: Daily mail

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