Dozens of countries across the world have had higher life expectancies than the United States over the last 70 years, a new study has found.
Investigators examined estimates from the United Nations, the Human Mortality Database and the U.S. Mortality Database. U.S. life expectancy showed signs of faltering in the 1950s, slowing from 1950 to 1954 and between 1955 and 1973. It then continued to drop from 1974 to 2021. U.S. state data showed that Midwest and South Central states had the slowest growth.
Fully 56 countries, meanwhile, had longer expected life spans from 1933 to 2021 compared with the U.S. And many saw faster growth in life expectancy during those time periods, except from 1974 to 1982.
“The upside is that many countries have found a way to consistently ensure that their populations live longer, healthier lives, Steven Woolf, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University said in a news release. “That’s hopeful, because it means that there are policy solutions that could help Americans live longer. This issue is not a lack of solutions, but rather a lack of political will.”