Widening Disparities in COVID-19 Mortality and Life Expectancy Among 15 Major Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States, 2020-2021.

Publication date: Mar 07, 2024

Persistent and often widening racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities in health have long existed in the US. Although racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 mortality are well documented, COVID-19 mortality risks and resultant reductions in life expectancy during the pandemic for detailed racial and ethnic groups in the US, including Asian and Hispanic subgroups, are not known. We used 2020-2021 US mortality data to estimate age-adjusted COVID-19 mortality rates, life expectancy, and the consequent declines in life expectancy due to COVID-19 overall and for the 15 largest racial/ethnic groups. We used standard life table methodology, cause-elimination life tables, and inequality indices to analyze trends in racial/ethnic disparities. The number of COVID-19 deaths increased from 350,827 in 2020 to 416,890 in 2021. COVID-19 death rates varied 7-fold among the racial/ethnic groups; Japanese and Chinese had the lowest mortality rates and Mexicans and American Indians/Alaska Natives (AIANs) had the highest rates. In 2021, life expectancy ranged from 70. 3 years for Blacks and 70. 6 years for AIANs to 85. 2 years for Japanese and 87. 7 years for Chinese. The life-expectancy gap was wide- 22. 4 years in 2020 and 23. 2 years in 2021. COVID-19 mortality had the greatest impact in reducing the life expectancy of Mexicans (3. 53 years in 2020 and 3. 78 years in 2021), Central/South Americans (4. 86 years in 2020 and 3. 50 years in 2021), and AIANs (2. 51 years in 2020 and 2. 38 years in 2021). Racial/ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 mortality, life expectancy, and resultant reductions in life expectancy during the pandemic widened between 2020 and 2021.

Concepts Keywords
Japanese COVID-19 mortality
Mexicans Disparities
Pandemic Life expectancy


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease MESH death
disease VO Gap

Original Article

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