Life expectancy in the US drops again

Certain demographic trends are worth noting. That the life expectancy in the United States dropped again is one:

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Just before Christmas, federal health officials confirmed life expectancy in America had dropped for a nearly unprecedented second year in a row – down to 76 years. While countries all over the world saw life expectancy rebound during the second year of the pandemic after the arrival of vaccines, the U.S. did not

The researchers catalog what they call the “U.S. health disadvantage” – the fact that living in America is worse for your health and makes you more likely to die younger than if you lived in another rich country like the U.K., Switzerland or Japan…

“We were very systematic and thorough about how we thought about this,” says Woolf. The panel looked at American life and death in terms of the public health and medical care system, individual behaviors like diet and tobacco use, social factors like poverty and inequality, the physical environment, and public policies and values. “In every one of those five buckets, we found problems that distinguish the United States from other countries.”…

The answer is varied. A big part of the difference between life and death in the U.S. and its peer countries is people dying or being killed before age 50. The “Shorter Lives” report specifically points to factors like teen pregnancy, drug overdoses, HIV, fatal car crashes, injuries, and violence.

This reminds me of a Hans Rosling video where he shows the rapid rise in life expectancy around the world in the last century or so.

If this is happening in the United States and not in other developed nations, does this mean the country is significantly in decline? Why does life expectancy not get the same kind of attention as other public matters, such as economic indicators or political fates? The ability to have a long life seems like a baseline matter that undergirds a lot of others

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