Life Expectancy Among Asian Populations Dropped Three Years During COVID-19

Getting Vaccinated Provides Best Defense to Staying Safer and Keeping Life Expectancy Higher

By: Dr. Dali Fan, UC Davis Health

Life expectancy has dropped for all Californians during the pandemic, including Asian populations who have historically had the longest life expectancy among all racial groups in the U.S., according to a new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, which analyzed 1.9 million deaths from 2015 to 2021, shows that the life expectancy for Asian populations in California fell by three years—from 86.6 years in 2019 to 83.5 years in 2021—with life expectancy dropping for Hispanic populations by 5.7 years, Black populations by 3.8 years, and white populations by 1.9 years.

While “life expectancy” is not an actual measure of life spans, researchers use this hypothetical measure of how long those born in a specific year will live based on that year’s mortality rates to better understand loss of life within populations. Many factors contribute to life expectancy, including socioeconomic status, ethnicity, access to healthcare, and in this case, vaccination rates.

The study correlates the drop in life expectancy with exposure to COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates, suggesting that getting vaccinated significantly impacted life expectancy outcomes. The highest rates of vaccination are among the Asian and white populations, which the study found had led to the lowest drops in life expectancy.

Given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our lives and the countless lives it has taken, the drop of life expectancy isn’t entirely unexpected. The reality is—it could have been much worse.

As scientists learn more about the devastating effects the COVID-19 illness has had on our society, especially the effects of long COVID in children and adults, taking critical steps to stay healthy with vaccination, boosters, testing and masking in high-risk situations can help protect your longevity.

As of early July, 38 of California’s 58 counties were experiencing high case rates and hospitalizations. Highly infectious variants of Omicron are now accounting for most cases nationwide, many being reinfections of those who have already had COVID-19.

There is no reason to delay getting vaccinated, as this study emphasizes what we already know—COVID-19 vaccines remain the safest and most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Free COVID-19 vaccines for the entire family, and everyone ages 6 months and older, are now available everywhere, making it easy and convenient to provide your family with this layer of protection.

Public health officials are continuing to monitor COVID-19 community-level and statewide data to protect the health and well-being of all Californians, keep schools safe for in-person instruction, and allow California’s economy to remain open and thrive.

By getting vaccinated, boosted and taking proper precautions such as masking, hand washing and watching your distance while encouraging others to do the same, you are keeping yourself safe and doing your part to help Californian recover. There is no time to delay, schedule your vaccination appointment today. Vaccination or booster appointments can be made by visiting or by calling 833-422-4255.

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