Skip to content

Life Expectancy

Life Expectancy: The US And Cuba In The Time Of Covid

Recent data shows that between 2019 and 2021, life expectancy (LE) in the US plunged almost three years while for Cuba it edged up 0.2 years. Yet, in 1960, the year after its revolution, Cuba had a LE of 64.2 years, lower by 5.6 years than that in the US (69.8 years). As I document in Cuban Health Care, the island quickly caught up to the US and, from 1970 through 2016, the two countries were nip and tuck, with some years Cuba and other years the US, having a longer LE. But neither country was ever as much as one year of LE ahead of the other. This continued through the beginning of Covid, which sharply changed the pattern. LE in the US suddenly dropped behind that in Cuba. Bernd Debusmann Jr.of BBC News wrote, "LE in the US fell “to the lowest level seen since 1996. Government data showed LE at birth now stands at 76.1 compared to 79 in 2019. That is the steepest two-year decline in a century.”

Life Expectancy And Human Development In The 21st Century

Life expectancy is one of the best measures of human development.  In hunter-gather societies, on average, about 57-67% of children made it to 15 years. Then 79% of those 15 year-olds made it to 45 years.  Finally, those remaining at 45 years could expect to reach around 65-70 years. So we can see that life expectancy at birth in these societies was very low, given high child mortality. But some 40% did make it to about 65 years on average.  It seems to have been worse in the class-based feudal and slave societies.  The average medieval life expectancy for a peasant was only a mere 35 years of age at birth, but it was closer to 50 years on average for those who made it beyond 15 years. You can see that measuring life expectancy at birth is not a perfect guide to how long humans did live in pre-capitalist societies.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that life expectancy on average rose sharply once science came to bear on hygiene, sewage, knowledge of the human body, better nutrition etc. 

US Life Expectancy Drops Sharply, The Second Consecutive Decline

Americans born in 2021 can expect to live for just 76.1 years — the lowest life expectancy has been since 1996, according to a new government analysis published Wednesday. This is the biggest two-year decline — 2.7 years in total — in almost 100 years. The Covid-19 pandemic is the primary cause of the decline. However, increases in the number of people dying from overdoses and accidents is also a significant factor. American Indian and Alaskan Native people have experienced a particularly precipitous drop in life expectancy since 2019, going from 71.8 to 65.2 years. This kind of loss is similar to the plunge seen for all Americans after the Spanish Flu, said Robert Anderson, the chief of the mortality statistics branch of the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

US Deaths Among Those Without Housing Are Surging

The number of Americans dying while homeless has surged dramatically in the past five years, an exclusive analysis by the Guardian in conjunction with an academic expert at the University of Washington has shown. An examination of 20 US urban areas found the number of deaths among people living without housing shot up by 77% in the five years ending in 2020. The rise from 2016 through 2020 was driven by many factors, including ever-rising numbers of people living on the street and the growing dangers they face, such as violence, untreated disease and increasingly deadly illicit drug supplies. From 65-year-old Randy Ferris, killed when a car veered into a California sidewalk encampment, Justine Belovoskey, 60, who died alone in a tent during a Texas cold snap, and Anthony Denico Williams, stabbed to death at age 20 in Washington DC, to scores of young people succumbing to overdoses on the streets, their stories reflect the harrowing tragedy of an epidemic of homelessness.

US Life Expectancy In 2020 Saw Biggest Drop Since WWII

The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline. More than 3.3 million Americans died last year, far more than any other year in U.S. history, with COVID-19 accounting for about 11% of those deaths.

Living In Inequality, Dying In Despair

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released some welcome news late last month: Americans are living a tiny bit longer. In 2018, the federal health agency reported, U.S. life expectancy at birth inched up about a month, from 78.6 to 78.7 years. The Trump administration, predictably, claimed credit for the increase, the first since 2014.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.