April 19, 2024

John Yang:

Life expectancy for the average American has dropped for the second year in a row, it’s now 76 years, while life expectancy fell around the world in 2020, because of COVID other countries have rebounded in 2021. But the United States continued its decline hitting the lowest point in nearly two decades.

Dr. Steven Woolf is Director Emeritus of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health. I know we’re focusing on the just the last two years, but this is a longer trend, is it not?

Dr. Steven Woolf, Virginia Commonwealth University Center School of Medicine: Absolutely. Our problems really began back in the 1990s. Life expectancy has been increasing in all industrialized countries. But starting then the pace of increase in the United States began to fall off. And then after 2010, it just stopped increasing altogether and plateaued.