The U.S. Has the Lowest Life Expectancy Among Large, Wealthy Countries While Far Outspending Them on Health Care
An updated Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker analysis shows the United States experienced a second year of decline in life expectancy in 2021 while other comparably large, wealthy countries saw a rebound in life expectancy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. Over recent decades, life expectancy has improved by much more in peer nations than it has in the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mortality and premature death rates in the U.S. by more than it did in most peer countries, widening a gap that already existed before the pandemic. While the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy among comparable countries, it far outspends its peers on health care. In 2021, the U.S. spent over $4,000 more per capita on health care than the next highest spending country.