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Arizona life expectancy drops below national average, report shows

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Arizona’s life expectancy decreased between 2019 and 2020, dipping below the national average.

The report shows life expectancy in the state dropped by more than two years between 2019 and 2020 to 76.3. That’s lower than the national average of 77, which also decreased by two years. 

“This is the biggest drop in life expectancy since World War II, which was, of course, caused by soldiers dying in Europe and in the Pacific. So this was a big deal," said Will Humble with the Arizona Public Health Association.

While the pandemic is a large factor in these statistics, the virus also had an effect on non-COVID-19 related deaths.   

“When you have a hospital system that’s overwhelmed, and ours was in crisis standards of care in July 2020, a lot of people died because they couldn’t get care that they really needed because the hospitals were completely packed with COVID patients," Humble said.

Humble expects numbers for 2021 to show a similar pattern due to the high COVID-19 mortality rate in Arizona.

Nick Sanchez is a senior producer for KJZZ's The Show. He joined the station as an intern during the spring of 2022, where he developed a passion for audio storytelling in the Valley.