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In 2020, the number of children a woman is expected to have also fell to 1.64, which is the lowest fertility rate since the 1930s.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reported that the pandemic caused life expectancy in the United States to decrease by one and a half years. The average decreased by three years for Latinos and 2.9 years for Blacks.
In the past year, the average life expectancy for the entire population was 77.3 years, a figure not recorded since 2003. For women, the average decreased from 81.4 years in 2019 to 80.2 years in 2020. Over the same period, life expectancy for men fell from 76.3 years to 74.5 years.
Those who experienced the largest drop in life expectancy were Latinos, with a decline from 81.8 years to 78.8 years. Among Hispanic men, life expectancy fell from 79 years to 75.3 years. Life expectancy in the African-American population dropped from 74.7 years to 71.8 years.
The NCHS noted that COVID-19 was responsible for 90 percent of the reduction in Latino life expectancy. This causal factor accounted for 68 percent of the reduction in white life expectancy and 59 percent of the reduction in Black life expectancy.
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In 2020, however, the leading causes of death in the United States were heart disease and cancer. NCHS also recorded an increase in the number of people dying from drug overdoses. Among them, nearly 70,000 people died from the use of natural or synthetic opioids.
The report also found that the number of children a woman is expected to have fell to 1.64, which is the lowest fertility rate since the 1930s.
"The numbers are devastating," said Chantel Martin, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.