A new report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows New York suffered the steepest drop in life expectancy of any state in 2020.
After New York ranked third nationally with a life expectancy at birth of 80.7 years in 2019, that figure fell by three years to 77.7 in 2020. The state ranked 15th in 2020, according to the CDC’s National Vital Statistics Reports.
The 2020 figure was still above the national average of 77 years, the lowest national average since 2002. Every state experienced a decline.
“Overall, life expectancy in the United States declined by 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in unintentional injuries,” the report stated, noting most unintentional injuries were drug overdoses.
New York was hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 than any other state in the U.S., with thousands dying in the first weeks of the emergency.
The overall average life expectancy for New York’s males dropped from 78.2 in 2019 to 74.8 in 2020. For females, it dropped from 83.1 to 80.7 over the same timeframe.
According to the CDC’s data, the 5.9-year gap between males and females was the 13th widest in the U.S. That’s wider than the national average of 5.7 years.
In addition, the CDC’s report found life expectancy for New Yorkers at age 65 dropped by nearly two years, from 20.3 to 18.4, going from No. 3 nationally to 21st. In 2019, New York men at 65 had a life expectancy of 16.8 years. Females went from a life expectancy of 21.6 years to 19.9.
Dr. Sal J. Giorgianni, PharmD, a senior service advisor for Men’s Health Network, said the lower life expectancy for males across the country shows a need to reconsider health care for men in the U.S.
“The main drivers of this demonstrable longevity-disparity for males in America is mainly accounted for by earlier deaths due to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, both of which are by in large preventable and manageable,” Giorgianni said.
“Health care providers, systems and policymakers must reassess how we engage men in health and wellness and look to make healthcare more guy-friendly if we are to address this health disparity equitably.”