Life Expectancy In U.S. Drops For First Time In Decades

Genealogists are aware that the life expectancy has been increasing for years in most developed countries. Therefore, it is a bit of a shock to learn that the life expectancy of citizens in the United States has actually decreased recently. To be sure, it is a small decrease. However, ANY decrease is a cause for concern.

The news out of the federal government Thursday is disturbing: The overall U.S. death rate has increased for the first time in a decade, according to an analysis of the latest data. And that led to a drop in overall life expectancy for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65. On average, the overall life expectancy, for someone born in 2015, fell from 78.9 years to 78.8 years. The life expectancy for the average American man fell two-tenths of a year — from 76.5 to 76.3. For women, it dropped one-tenth — from 81.3 to 81.2 years.

Government analysts are awaiting more data before reaching any definitive conclusions. However, those analysts and most medical professionals are not surprised at the latest numbers. In fact, such numbers have been predicted for some time. The assumption is that the American lifestyle, especially the food we eat, is responsible. Again, that is an assumption. We will not know for sure until more study is performed over the next few years.

In addition, the epidemic of prescription opioid painkillers and heroin abuse is probably fueling the increase in unintentional injuries. The rise in drug abuse and suicide could be due to economic factors causing despair.

I would suggest we all keep an eye out for future announcements about life expectancy. In the meantime, take care of yourself, OK?



The reason is in your first sentence: “…life expectancy has been increasing for years in most developed countries,” and “particularly among people younger than 65.” The ethnic composition of U.S. citizens has an increasing amount of people, mostly younger than 65, from places that are not considered “developed countries”, so U.S. life expectancy can be expected to drop proportionally.


Increasing poverty and lack of access to consistent medical care may also be to blame.


Could the increase be attributed to the Baby Boomers dying? There are a lot of people now over 60 than ever before.


What about the mass murders and wildfires that seem to be occurring on a pretty consistent basis? Would that not pull the age down since there are a lot of younger people in those groups?


Story I read on NPR had this quote about the reasons:
“Most notably, the overall death rate for Americans increased because mortality from heart disease and stroke increased after declining for years. Deaths were also up from Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and diabetes. More Americans also died from unintentional injuries and suicide. In all, the decline was driven by increases in deaths from eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.”


Heroin epidemic


I read of 6 month old babies getting Pepsi in their baby bottles. I doiubt they will achieve an average life expectancy. Increasing consumption of junk food is a strong factor.


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