Declining US Citizen’s Life Expectancy

Lifted from notes by One handed economist David Zetland comes with this reminder about US life expectancy dropping. David goes further and gives the reasons for decreasing Life Expectancy.

America, my increasingly ex-country, has lower life expectancy than 21 “peer” countries. This decline being due to a combination of death from Covid, cars, guns, and lifestyle.

The first fact about Covid was sadly unsurprising:

The coronavirus pandemic killed so many people that U.S. life expectancy fell from roughly 79 in 2019 to 76 in 2021—the largest two-year decline in nearly a century. The drop was sharpest among Native Americans and Alaska Natives, whose life expectancy fell to 65, close to the national average during World War II.

The second fact was perhaps more alarming:

The U.S. fared worse in life expectancy than other high-income countries. While most of the developed world saw conditions improve in the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans died of COVID after the introduction of the vaccines than before their invention.

Some of the most immediate causes of America’s high death rate are guns, drugs, and cars.

  • The U.S. has more guns and gun violence than any other rich country. 
  • more drug-overdose deaths than any other high-income country—both overall and on a per capita basis. Even before the pandemic, life expectancy in the U.S. declined for consecutive years in 2015 and 2016, largely because of the opioid epidemic and drug overdoses, and
  • a higher death rate from car related road accidents than Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. Even on a per-miles-driven basis, the U.S. still has a higher death rate than much of Europe.

(America’s rank, at 54th in the world for life Expectancy in 2020, is likely to fall further, due to ongoing deterioration.) At some point, it may be useful for politicians to pay attention to saving their voters’ lives. Remember how Russian life expectancy dropped by around 5 years between 1990 and 1992? 

Changes in Life Expectancy between 2019 and 2021 in the United States and 21 Peer Countries,” (, Ryan K. Masters, Laudan Y. Aron, Steven H. Woolf,

America Is a Rich Death Trap” – The Atlantic, Derek Thompson

List of countries by life expectancy” – Wikipedia

Health in Russia” – Wikipedia