CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- South Carolinians are not living as long as they used to, according to a new study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report Tuesday detailing life expectancy rates across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Average life expectancy in the U.S. dropped to 77 years in 2020, its lowest average in nearly two decades and a 1.8-year drop from the previous year.
The CDC found that Hawaii had the highest life expectancy at 80.7 years and Mississippi had the lowest at 71.9 years.
However, each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, experienced a decline in life expectancy ranging from 0.2 years in Hawaii to 3.0 years in New York. Twelve other states–Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas—saw declines greater than two years between 2019 and 2020.
The average difference in life expectancy between the sexes was 5.7 years in 2020. Life expectancy at birth for males was 74.2 years, a 2.1-year decline from 2019. For females, life expectancy at birth was 79.9, a 1.5-year dip from the previous year.
As for South Carolina, the average life expectancy at birth fell from 76.8 years in 2019 to 74.8 years in 2020.
Life expectancy at birth for males in South Carolina was 71.7 years and 78 years for females, a difference of 6.3 years.
The National Center for Health Statistics, which compiled the data, attributed the national drop largely to the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in drug overdose deaths.
According to the most recently available CDC data, the drug overdose death rate in South Carolina is 34.9 per 100,000 people and the COVID-19 death rate in the last quarter of 2020 was 118.5 per 100,000 people.