At least partially as a consequence of over 1 million Covid-19 deaths, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined significantly over the past few years, falling from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 in 2020 and 76.1 in 2022 — undoing over two decades of progress. This puts the country far behind its wealthy peers: Countries such as Japan, Korea, Portugal, the U.K., and Italy all enjoy a life expectancy of 80 years or more. Countries such as Turkey (78.6) and China (78.2) also fare better. This falloff has become a key issue for the Food and Drug Administration.
The picture is especially concerning for men, whose life expectancy is now 73.2 years, compared with women’s 79.1. This 5.9 year gap is the widest between the two genders since 1996.
“Across the world, women tend to live longer than men,” said Brandon Yan, a resident physician at the UCSF School of Medicine and a research collaborator at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who is the lead author of the study. (Both institutions collaborated in the research.)