NIH says data provide context for changes, disparities that happened in COVID-19 pandemic.
Life expectancy increased by 2.3 years in the United States from 2000 to 2019, according to the federal National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But the increase was not consistent among racial and ethnic groups or geographic area. Most of the gains happened before 2010 and almost 60% of U.S. counties experienced a decrease in life expectancy from 2010 to 2019.
According to a news release, NIH said the new study provides context for changes to mortality and disparities that occurred since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gains may not last, because provisional estimates for 2020 already “show substantial declines” in life expectancy overall and for the Black, Latino and White populations.
“These varied outcomes in life expectancy raise significant questions. Why is life expectancy worse for some and better for others?” coauthor Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD, said in the news release. Perez-Stable is director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of NIH.
“The novel details in this study provide us the opportunity to evaluate the impact of social and structural determinants on health outcomes in unprecedented ways,” Pérez-Stable said. “This in turn allows us to better identify responsive and enduring interventions for local communities.”
The study, “Life expectancy by county, race, and ethnicity in the USA, 2000-19: a systematic analysis of health disparities,” was published June 16 in The Lancet. The study was led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, Seattle, in collaboration with researchers from NIH, which also published a news release about the data.
NIH analyzed data at the national level: