COVID-19 pulls down Latino, Black, Asian life expectancy more than whites

Racial and economic health disparities exposed by the pandemic have factored into a widening gap in Californians’ life expectancies, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers found that between 2019 and 2021, the life expectancy for Latino Californians fell by almost six years — from 82.5 years to 76.8. That plunge is twice the average decline of about three years for all Californians and three times more than the decrease for white Californians of close to two years.

Prior to the pandemic, white Californians had a lower life expectancy than Latinos — 80.5 years. In 2021, the expected life span of whites dropped to 78.6 years.

Life expectancy is a hypothetical measure of how long those born in a specific year will live based on that year’s mortality rates. It is not a measure of actual life spans, but researchers use it to understand loss of life within various populations, according to the California Policy Lab.

It decreased by nearly four years for Black Californians, from 74.8 years to 71, and by three years for Asian Californians, from 86.6 years to 83.5, the study says.

“Our findings are another troubling sign of how […]

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