The average life expectancy for 2022 ticked up from the previous year but still remained below pre-pandemic levels, according to the most recent data published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC measures life expectancy as the average number of years a baby born in a certain year could expect to live, taking for granted that death rates hold constant.
In 2022, it was 77.5 years, a dramatic 1.1-year increase from the 76.6-year life expectancy in 2021.
Still, the change does not fully make up for the loss of 2.4 years of life expectancy from 2019 to 2021, which, the CDC said, “resulted mostly from increases in excess deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
For at least the last two decades, life expectancy rose steadily each year, but declined dramatically from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77 years in 2020, and then to 76.6 years in 2021.
“We basically have lost 20 years of gains,” the CDC’s Elizabeth Arias said, the Associated Press reported.
Life expectancy gains in 2022 were seen across the board, according to the latest CDC data, with both sexes and every race and ethnical group seeing an increase in years.
The CDC noted that the data from 2022 is provisional. The CDC describes life expectancy at birth as “the average number of years a group of infants would live if they were to experience throughout life the age-specific death rates prevailing during a period.”
The decline in COVID-19 deaths was the largest contributor to the change in life expectancy, accounting for 84.2 percent of the change. Increases in deaths, however, due to influenza and pneumonia, perinatal conditions, kidney disease, nutritional deficiencies, and congenital malformations muted the overall change between the two years.