The COVID-19 Pandemic and Life Expectancy: Decomposition Using Individual-Level Mortality Data
26 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 27, 2021
We develop cohort-based estimates of life expectancy without COVID, the fraction of persons who have died of COVID (population fatality rate, or PFR), and life expectancy loss, relying on individual-level data for three areas in the Midwestern U.S. (Cook County, Illinois; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; and the State of Indiana). We use the individual-level data to assess how estimates of PFR and life-expectancy loss vary with age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socio-economic status. COVID PFR over March 2020-June 2021 for the three Midwest areas is 0.17% and decedents lose about 12 expected life-years. Life expectancy loss (LEL) is 0.17% * 12 years = 0.021 years (8 days); but can be as high as 3 months for some persons. Mean LEL is higher for men (0.025 years) than for women (0.018 years), and substantially higher for Blacks and Hispanic (0.030 years) than for Whites (0.018 years). We also provide national estimates using aggregate data. Life expectancy losses due to COVID exceed the annual gains in life expectancy over 2008-2018 for persons above ages 62-69 (depending on gender and race/ethnicity). Socio-economic status has modest incremental effect on life expectancy loss, relative to age, gender, and race/ethnicity. Our life expectancy loss estimates are much lower than published estimates which use a “period life expectancy” approach.
Note: Funding: This project was funded by the National Institutes of Health, award 3 UL1 TR001436-06S1.
Declaration of Interests: The authors have no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: IRB approval - The paper uses only de-identified data, no patient consent is needed or obtained.
Keywords: COVID-19; life expectancy; COVID mortality rates
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