Opportunity for Health

Declining Life Expectancy in the United States: The Need for Social Policy as Health Policy


The COVID-19 pandemic has been an acute exacerbation of a chronic and staggeringly unequal decline in population health in the US. The deep structural forces driving these trends do not abide by political divisions and have affected people in the US across the political spectrum. Addressing these trends will not be easy and will require a deep and unwavering commitment to pursuing a broad range of social and economic policies. While partisanship and polarization present real challenges, there is enough consensus already for the new presidential administration to promote proven policies that can begin to reverse the declining life expectancy in the US.