PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Life expectancy declined in the U.S. for the second-consecutive year, according to the latest National Vital Statistics Reports released by the CDC in August, but Oregon’s place in the ranking may come as a surprise to some.
The nationwide drop is the largest year-to-year change in U.S. life expectancy since the county published its first complete mortality report more than 75 years ago, the CDC said on Wednesday.
“Overall, life expectancy in the U.S. declined by 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increases in unintentional injuries — mainly drug overdose deaths,” the report states.
All U.S. states and Washington D.C. saw declines for life expectancy at birth from 2019 to 2020. However, there were drastic differences between them, with declines ranging from 0.2 fewer years in Hawaii to a drip of three full years in New York.
The states with the most significant decreases in life expectancy included Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and D.C. The states with the smallest drops in life expectancy include Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Hawaii topped the list for best life expectancy in 2020 with an average life expectancy of 80.7 years — the only state with an average life expectancy in the 80s. Hawaii notably also enforced some of the strictest COVID-19 regulations during the pandemic and was the last state to lift its mask mandates, which expired in March of this year.
Other states with the highest life expectancies include Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Colorado, Minnesota and Utah. Of these states, Oregon ranked eighth in the country in 2020, with an average life expectancy of 78.8 years. Oregon also saw the fifth smallest change in life expectancy from 2019 to 2020, with a decline of 0.8.
The states with the lowest life expectancies in 2020 included Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, and also Washington D.C.