Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped in 2021 for the second year in a row, marking the first such back-to-back losses in a century, with COVID-19 determined to be the cause. In 2019, life expectancy for a person born in the U.S. was 79 years. In 2020, that figure fell to 77 years due to COVID-19, and dropped again to 76.1 years in 2021.
Not all groups in the U.S. have suffered life expectancy losses equally. Native Americans—who are 2.2 times more likely to die from COVID-19 and 3.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than the nationwide average—were the hardest hit, seeing a stark life expectancy loss of 6.6 years from 2019 to 2021.