Native Americans experienced disproportionately high rates of deaths from COVID-19 due to poverty, crowded housing, high rates of chronic disease, employment in frontline jobs, and limited access to quality health care.
Less is known about the pandemic’s effects on life expectancy for this population, which makes up 2% of the U.S. population.
Noreen Goldman of Princeton University and Theresa Andrasfay, Ph.D. ’20 of the University of Southern California investigated life expectancy at birth in 2020 and 2021 — when COVID-19 rates were surging — compared to 2019.
Life expectancy is a metric of population-level mortality in a given year, and it is sensitive to deaths at younger ages.
The pandemic set Native Americans further behind other major racial and ethnic groups in terms of life expectancy. For a high-income country, these figures are shockingly low, the researchers said, and far below every country in the Americas except for Haiti.
- The estimated loss in life expectancy at birth for Native Americans is 4.5 years in 2020 and 6.4 years in 2021 relative to 2019.
- The pandemic reduced Native American life expectancy at birth from the already low 72 years in 2019 to about 67 years in 2020 and about 65 years in 2021 for both sexes combined.
- Men and women each experienced around a six-year drop in life expectancy at birth.
- Women’s life expectancy was 69 in 2021, 71 in 2020 — compared to 75 in 2019.
- Men’s life expectancy was 62 in 2021, 64 in 2020 — dropping from 69 in 2019.
Source: Read Full Article