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The decrease in life expectancy in the United States since 2014

Population and Societies

570, October 2019

Life expectancy at birth in the United States stopped increasing in 2010 and has even been declining for men since 2014. The United States started to fall behind other countries around 1980, and its ranking has fallen steadily since then. Progress in combating cardiovascular diseases, the main factor behind the increase in life expectancy in the 1970s and 1980s, has slowed since 2000, due notably to the increase in obesity and diabetes. The drug overdose epidemic accounts for half of the years of life lost between 2014 and 2017. Overdose mortality increased more than fivefold between 1980 and 2017

Why has life expectancy recently fallen in the United States, and why is US life expectancy falling ever further behind that of other developed countries? In this detailed look at mortality by age and cause of death, Magali Barbieri quantifies the role played by the opioid overdose epidemic that has accompanied the stagnation or slowdown in progress for other causes of death, such as cardiovascular diseases.

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