An Introduction to the Supplemental Issue on Why Does Health in the US Continue to Lag behind

Neil K. Mehta, Mikko Myrskylä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Health and mortality in the United States rank poorly by international standards, despite the nation s robust economic and technological standing. In 2010, life expectancy at birth in the United States, at 78.8 years, was 1.0 year lower than the average of 27 European Union countries (Eurostat, 2021; University of California, Berkeley and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, 2015). Between 2010 and 2019, the U.S. shortfall in life expectancy doubled to 2.1 years largely a product of U.S. life expectancy growth stalling. Between 2014 and 2017 U.S. life expectancy experienced three consecutive year-over-year declines, unique among high-income countries. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has only served to exacerbate these preexisting shortfalls (Woolf et al., 2021). The U.S. lag is evident for both women and men and it is not attributable to the racial/ethnic diversity of the U.S. population. Even the most affluent U.S. states those characterized by dynamic gig economies with many highly skilled workers exhibit outcomes that are on par or lag national averages of other high-income countries (Eurostat, 2021; Montez et al., 2020). Chronic disease and disability levels are also generally higher in the United States compared to many other peer countries (Choi et al., 2020).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S113-S116
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
StatePublished - May 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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