Life expectancy in the US dropped a full year in the first half of 2020, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Experts say that Covid-19 was a significant factor contributing to the decline.
The life expectancy for the entire US population fell to 77.8 years, similar to what it was in 2006, CDC data shows.
Changes to life expectancy also widened racial and ethnic inequities. Compared to 2019, life expectancy for non-Hispanic Black people in the US fell about three times what it did for non-Hispanic White people, by 2.7 years. It fell by twice as much for Hispanic people, by 1.9 years.
Life-expectancy disparities between Black people and White people had been shrinking in recent years, but these latest figures reverse some of that progress.
Over the past 40 years, life expectancy has increased slowly but rarely declined. Between 2014 and 2017 -- a peak period of the opioid epidemic -- life expectancy declined a third of a year, which itself was significant.
Life-expectancy estimates before 1980 have been measured less consistently, but experts told CNN that estimates for drops in life expectancy after World War II range from less than a year to three years.