Life expectancy for Kentuckians dropped in 2019-20

Published 1:19 pm Monday, August 29, 2022


One of the most striking measures of the pandemic is the decline in life expectancy from 2019 to 2020, the year the novel coronavirus hit; it declined more in Kentucky than it did in most other states.

Nationally, life expectancy declined from 77 years in 2019 to 77.8 in 2020, a drop of 1.8 years. Kentucky’s decline was a full two years, from 75.5 to 73.5.

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Kentucky’s decline tied for 10th largest in the nation, with Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Michigan. The greatest decline, in New York, was three years, followed by the District of Columbia, Louisiana, New Jersey, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, Illinois (2.2 years) and Texas.

Among other neighboring states, Arkansas’ life expectancy fell 1.9 years, Tennessee 1.8, Missouri 1.8, West Virginia 1.7, Ohio 1.6, Virginia 1.5, and North Carolina 1.5.

Kentucky’s 2020 life expectancy of 73.5 years ranks 47th in the nation. Below it are Alabama, 73.2; Louisiana, 73.1; West Virginia, 72.8; and Mississippi, 71.9.

Among other neighboring states, the 2020 life expectancy is 73.8 in Arkansas and Tennessee, 75 in Indiana, 75.1 in Missouri, 75.3 in Ohio, 76.1 in North Carolina, 76.8 in Illinois and 77.6 in Virginia. Hawaii has the highest life expectancy, 80.7, and had the smallest decline in 2020, only 0.2 years.