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the coronavirus crisis

U.S. life expectancy saw 'staggering decline' in 2020, CDC says

U.S. life expectancy declined by nearly two years in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics in a new report released Wednesday said life expectancy in the U.S. declined from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, ABC News and The Washington Post report. This was even more than previously thought, as the CDC reported a 1.5-year decline earlier this year based on provisional data. There were about 350,000 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020. 

"The thing that stands out to me is just this staggering decline," NCHS mortality statistics chief Dr. Robert Anderson told ABC News. "I know 1.8 years doesn't seem like a whole lot but, on a population scale, that's a huge decline in life expectancy." 

In fact, it was the biggest decline in life expectancy since World War II. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020, and it was the "primary driver in the decline in life expectancy and the increase in mortality," Anderson told ABC. Overall, there were about 530,000 more deaths in the U.S. in 2020 than there were the year before. According to CNN, the death rate increased 43 percent for Hispanic males, 28 percent for Black males, and 13 percent for white males. 

The latest data comes after estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed population growth fell to a record low, increasing just 0.1 percent from July 2020 to July 2021.