The life expectancy of Americans fell by a year and a half in 2020 compared to the previous year, an unprecedented contraction in 75 years, mainly due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
At birth, Americans’ life expectancy fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 in 2020, according to definitive data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US federal public health service. The agency had already released preliminary data for this index in July.
According to the agency, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the US in 2020, with 350,000 deaths – behind cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Moreover, the difference in life expectancy between men and women widened, going from 5.1 years in 2019 to 5.7 in 2020 (74.2 for men, compared to 79.9 for women in 2020) .
The data were released following estimates released Tuesday by the US Census Bureau, which showed that the US population growth rate slowed in 2020 to the lowest level ever recorded.
The pandemic is proving to be accelerating pre-existing trends, with fewer births and more deaths. Between July 2020 and July 2021, U.S. population growth reached only 0.1%, according to the Census Bureau.
The US population now stands at 331.9 million.
“Population growth has been slowing for years due to declining birth rates and declining foreign migration, while the death rate is rising due to the country’s aging population,” said Christie Wilder, a census expert. .
“With the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic, this combination has led to a historically slow population growth rate,” he added.
Won and lost states
Another consequence of the pandemic: some states, especially western ones, saw their populations increase, sometimes spectacularly, while those in the northeastern part of the country, much more urbanized, saw their population shrink.
Texas thus recorded, in absolute terms, the highest increase (+ 1.1%), mainly thanks to the 170,000 people who went there from other states and decided to settle.
Idaho attracted nearly 49,000 new residents who moved from other states and recorded the highest increase in proportion to population (+ 2.9%).
In contrast, the state of New York saw its population shrink, falling below the threshold of 20 million (-1.6%). More than 352,000 people decided to leave this state for another.
The federal capital, Washington, suffered the largest population decline in percentage (-2.9%).
These figures are estimates based on data collected from the 2020 census, birth, death certificates and immigration data.
The 2020 census, however, ran into serious problems, partly because of the new coronavirus pandemic and partly because of the methodological changes demanded by former President Donald Trump.
These data are needed to determine the electoral division of the 50 US states as well as the distribution of tens of billions of dollars of federal funds intended specifically for hospitals and schools. They also allow the specific weight of each state to be defined in the House of Representatives.