(NEXSTAR) — Californians are not living as long as they used to — and the decline in life expectancy happened over just one year. California is among the states where life expectancy dropped by nearly two years, according to new reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s National Vital Statistics Reports shows every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. saw a dent in their life expectancy rates from 2019 to 2020. Though all were impacted, New York is the only state that saw a 3-year decrease in life expectancy, with the average 2020 life span around 77.7 years.
The next highest decreases happened in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Arizona and Texas — life expectancy in these states all dropped by at least two years since 2019.
In California, life expectancy dropped by 1.9 years, from 80.9 in 2019 to 79 in 2020.
The CDC says the 2020 figures are the biggest drop in over 75 years. So what gives?
As you may have guessed, the COVID-19 pandemic accounts for much of the increase in deaths seen across the nation. In 2020, there were at least 400,000 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. Overall, there have been over 1 million deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19-related issues.
In California, there have been 93,843 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the state.
COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in California in 2020, according to the CDC. Only heart disease and cancer were more common causes.
COVID-19 helps account for the greatest spike in deaths in the U.S. in 100 years, as recorded in 2020 by U.S. Census. Between 2019 and 2020, deaths in the U.S. increased by 19%.
So how is life expectancy calculated? The CDC says it uses state death counts, Medicare information and U.S. Census data to determine the average number of years residents live.
As for the states you are more likely to live longer in, Maine, Vermont and Oregon (among others) saw decreases of less than one year. Meanwhile, you can say “Aloha!” to a life expectancy of 80.7 years in Hawaii — that’s the highest nationally and yet another reason to want to live on the island.