U.S. life expectancy is dropping

Most Americans assume longevity is increasing, but lately it’s gone into reverse.

From 2019 to 2021, average U.S. life expectancy dropped from 79 years to 76 years (see story here).

Losing over a million Americans to Covid-19 obviously skewed the statistics.

But U.S. life expectancy was already lower than peer countries’ for other reasons.

These include unhealthy lifestyles, the opioid epidemic, gun violence, suicides, and lack of universal health care.

Among the 36 OECD nations, the U.S. ranks 28th in life expectancy, trailing countries like Japan, Switzerland, and even Cuba (see story here).

What about politics? Is being Republican lethal? I’d say it doesn’t improve a person’s odds.

In 2015, years before Covid-19 began reducing the population of anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers (the virus doesn’t care if they think it’s a hoax), a long-term study of 33,000 adults spanning 30 years found conservatives were dying at higher rates than liberals.

However, one researcher thinks that’s just a “marker for something else” (e.g., Republicans are more likely to be smokers).

Two things I can say for sure: Getting shot while trying to overthrow our government doesn’t contribute to longevity. But on the other hand, neither does “driving while black.”

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