Yakima Valley Trends Blog

Did you know there are nearly 140 different community indicators on Yakima Valley Trends - each updated throughout the year? But which ones, and when?

This issue of the Yakima Valley Trends blog lists the most recently updated indicators on the Yakima Valley Trends website.  

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Blog Feature: Life Expectancy in Yakima County

Impact of the Pandemic:  Life Expectancy Falls More than Three Years – Returning to 1990s Level!

Life expectancy at birth is a popular way of showing changes in the overall health of a community. Over time, life expectancy at birth has steadily increased due to improvements in public health. Yakima County trends provides the data for the county along with the state & US as benchmarks in their indicator 7.1.1 Life Expectancy at Birth.

One of the striking impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic is the swift and dramatic decline in overall life expectancy in just one year. Life expectancy at birth fell across the United States by nearly a year and half returning the nation to a level it first achieved in 2003 – essentially wiping out over 15 years of increases in health outcomes.

Washington state, in part due to higher vaccination rates and stricter masking mandates, fared better than the nation with a reduction of almost a year. For the first time in over a decade, the life expectancy at birth for an infant born in Washington fell to under 80 years.

Turning to Yakima County, life expectancy at birth fell by more than 3 years – a much steeper drop than both the state and the nation.  In 2019, life expectancy at birth in the county matched the national average. After just one year of the pandemic, the county has fallen more than two years below the nation. Life expectancy at the end of 2020 was just below what it was in 1990 – a regression of three decades! A newborn in Yakima County is expected to live, on average, 75.6 years which is below both the state and national averages.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit some groups harder than others. In particular, there was a differential response by ethnicity with Hispanic populations seeing a reduction in life expectancy of 2.8 years across the state and over 4 full years decline in Yakima County, exceeding even the US average decline of three years for the Hispanic population overall.