The COVID-19 Pandemic and Life Expectancy: Decomposition Using Individual-Level Mortality Data

26 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2021

See all articles by Paula Natalia Barreto Parra

Paula Natalia Barreto Parra

Northwestern University

Vladimir A. Atanasov

William and Mary - Raymond A. Mason School of Business

John Meurer

Medical College of Wisconsin

Jeff Whittle

Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center - Department of Medicine

Eric Luo

Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, The George Washington University

Ruohao Zhang

Northwestern University

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: August 27, 2021

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Barreto Parra, Paula Natalia and Atanasov, Vladimir A. and Meurer, John and Whittle, Jeffrey and Luo, Qian and Zhang, Ruohao and Black, Bernard S., The COVID-19 Pandemic and Life Expectancy: Decomposition Using Individual-Level Mortality Data (August 27, 2021). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3795801 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3795801

Paula Natalia Barreto Parra

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Vladimir A. Atanasov

William and Mary - Raymond A. Mason School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States

John Meurer

Medical College of Wisconsin ( email )

United States
4145100375 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.mcw.edu/departments/institute-for-health-and-equity/people/john-meurer-md-mba

Jeffrey Whittle

Clement J. Zablocki Medical Center - Department of Medicine ( email )

5000 W. National Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53295
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.mcw.edu/display/router.asp?DocID=10377

Qian Luo

Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, The George Washington University ( email )

2175 K St NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Ruohao Zhang

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ruohaozhang.weebly.com

Bernard S. Black (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2784 (Phone)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5049 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Brussels
Belgium

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