American Life Expectancy Plummets, Now Lagging Behind British

On Twitter, Financial Times reporter John Burn Murdoch shared disturbing statistics on how far the U.S. life expectancy has fallen in the last four years. Of course, there has been a health crisis worldwide of an unprecedented magnitude during the same period. Still, the statistics from a study by a team led by German research scientist Jonas Schöley show that while most countries experienced a drop in life expectancy, many countries have bounced back, but not all have.

Murdoch’s chart details how Americans now have shorter lives than people in Great Britain throughout all levels of financial status. The most significant difference is five years among the lowest economic groups in both countries. However, even the poorest people in Great Britain live longer than their counterparts in the U.S.

More Money, More Problems?

These statistics are exacerbated because most Americans make more money than people in England, as pointed out by Murdoch. The Office for National Statistics says that the average salary in the U.K. is £27,756, and the average yearly income in the U.S. is $53,490, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You might think that more money would improve your chance of living longer, but not necessarily, and not in this situation. 

During the twentieth century, life expectancy in the U.S. started at 46 years for men and 48 years for women at the turn of the century. It increased to 66 years for men and 71 years for women by the mid-century point. At the end of the century, life expectancy was at a high of 76 years for men and 81 years for women, according to The Hamilton Project

We’re Not Doing So Good

One of the most shocking revelations is that the average American has the same expectation of years lived in good health as residents of Blackpool, one of England’s poorest and unhealthiest towns.

According to the Blackpool Gazette, 34,960 people live in poverty in private households, and 18 percent live with a heart or respiratory problem as of March 2021. It also has the highest rates of antidepressant prescriptions, broken relationships, and a predominantly white population, according to The Financial Times

Where Is The Mortality Gap?

The numbers that are lowering life expectancy in the U.S. are coming from an unexpected source. Murdoch states that the statistics say the “mortality gap” exists among young adults. He cites the statistic that one in 25 Americans die before they turn 40. Usually, you would assume that older people are dying in a case like this, but the problem is that young people in America are dying more often. 

According to the CDC, maternal mortality rose in 2021, “The maternal mortality rate for 2021 was 32.9 deaths per one hundred thousand live births, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019.”

1205 women died of maternal causes in the U.S. in 2021. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found an increase in “all-cause mortality” in children and adolescents in the U.S. “Between 2019 and 2020, the all-cause mortality rate for ages one to 19 years increased by 10.7 percent, and it increased by an additional 8.3 percent between 2020 and 2021.”

Most of This Started Happening Before 2020

Before COVID, suicides among those between 10 and 19 started to increase in 2007. Homicide rates for the same group started growing in 2013, and overdose rates caused by opiates started rising around 2019 as access to drugs like fentanyl escalated.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine’s analysis of CDC data, “drug overdose and poisoning increased by 83.6 percent from 2019 to 2020” for children and adolescents. 

Around the same time, suicide mortality rates increased by 69.5 percent. Homicide rates went up by 32.7 percent, according to the report from the JAMA Network

Is It Because of Weapons?

Gun deaths, another significant factor in fatalities among the young, have also increased. The CDC updated gun mortality data, revealing “45,222 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2020” or a 13.5 increase since 2019. Of that rate, 33.4 percent of those deaths were firearm homicides compared to 29.5 percent in 2019. 

The analysis showed that the previous leading cause of death of children and adolescents, between one and 19 years of age, was motor vehicle crashes. With this new data, firearm-related deaths are now the group’s number one cause of death and “more than twice as high as the relative increase in the general population.”

This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.

Dolores Quintana is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. She has bylines at Fangoria, Alternative Press, Nightmarish Conjurings, Grammy.com/The Recording Academy, The Advocate, Buddyhead, Pocho.com, The Theatre @ Boston Court, The Mirror Media Group, What Now Media, We Like LA, and The Shudder Blog. She has a successful YouTube channel and podcast called Burnt Orange Dreams, where she interviews actors, writers, and directors.

She works as an actor in independent film and both immersive and traditional theatre with Alone: an Existential Haunting, Screenshot Productions, and Native Voices at The Autry.


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