Life-expectancy Biggest 2-Year Decline

Life expectancy in the United States is seeing its biggest two-year decline in 100 years. This grim trend is only the second time in a century that US life expectancy went down for two consecutive years, with a smaller dip from 1921-1923.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report with the newest provisional statistics was released this month. A culmination of events including Covid-19, the opioid epidemic, and suicide could explain the drop in average life expectancy. September is also Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Recovery Awareness Month, a time to delve deeper into the issues contributing to lives lost too soon.

Why is Life-expectancy Down?

Although life expectancy in the United States decreased by an average of 2.7 years for all ethnic populations, non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) experienced the largest decline at 6.6 years between 2019 and 2021. The CDC also found a disparity between genders in the United States. Between men and women, the average life expectancy dropped by 3.1 years for males and 2.3 years for females between 2019 and 2021.2

Contributors to the historic drop in life expectancy in the United States include: 1,3,4

  • COVID- 19: The pandemic has led to over 1 million reported deaths in the U.S. (the most deaths caused by Covid in the world), undoubtedly adding to the decline in average life expectancy. It is estimated that COVID-19 is responsible for 50% of the negative contribution in mortality rates.
  • Unintentional injuries: Among other accidents, the opioid epidemic has led to an increase in unintentional injuries and deaths nationwide. There were over 106,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. between February 2021 and February 2022. Drug overdose deaths have increased by almost 7% in Texas alone in the past year.3Notably, there has been a significant increase in recent years for opioids, both synthetic (e.g. fentanyl) and non-synthetic (e.g. heroin).
  • Chronic illness: Heart disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, cancer, diabetes, and other conditions that last longer than 1 year and require ongoing medical attention make up a large portion of deaths in the U.S. each year.
  • Suicide: There was an average of 1 death every 11 minutes in the U.S. in 2020. The CDC reported that suicide rates in 2020 among males were 4 times higher than the suicide rate among females.

However, experts like Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics predict that U.S. life expectancy will begin to slowly increase again in 2022.5 Despite the intimidating factors listed above driving the decline, hope is not lost. As we enter National Recovery Month, it is important to remember the power of healing and recovery.

National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, a time to increase public awareness surrounding new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices for mental health and addiction.6 Greenhouse Treatment Center near Dallas, Texas specializes in drug and alcohol addiction recovery. The industry-accredited program has provided exceptional care to more than 11,000 patients.

Patients at Greenhouse continue to be supported after they have completed treatment through aftercare planning and Greenhouse’s expansive alumni network. If you have more questions on the admissions process, treatment options available, or how to pay for addiction rehab, reach out to our admissions navigators available 24/7 at .

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