U.S. Life Expectancy is Reportedly Declining
Average life expectancy in the U.S. has been steadily declining for three consecutive years, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The latest data shows that a baby born in 2017 is expected to live to be 78.6 years old, down from the previous 78.7 from the year before.
This marks the third consecutive decline in overall life expectancy, which had previously been steadily increasing. This also marks the longest decline since the early 20th century, when the constant threat of Spanish Flu coupled with World War I were causing the deaths of millions of Americans. The continued decline has solicited concern, especially considering America is an advanced nation that spends large amounts of money on healthcare.
The report has yet to identify a single cause for the continued decline in life expectancy, but it does outline three factors that may be seriously contributing to it.
Suicide rates have been on the rise since 1999, with the national rate increasing by a staggering 33%. This figure saw an increase of 3.7% in 2017 alone.
Drug overdoses have become a nationwide epidemic, driven by the number of people addicted to opioids. 2017 saw the deaths of more than 70,000 Americans due to drug overdoses, and in just a decade, that number has increased by more than 70%. The over-prescribing of addictive opioids, coupled with the increasingly cheap and highly potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl, have caused a significant decline in Americans’ life expectancy.
Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis has seen an increase in prevalence among both men and women. Liver disease is caused by a number of factors, including alcoholism, genetic predispositions, and obesity. It was the cause of more than 40,000 deaths in 2017 alone.