What You Need to Know
- The actual number of deaths for people of all ages has been 18.4% higher than the expected number.
- For women, the worst actual-to-expected death ratio is for the 35-44 age group.
- For men, the highest percentage of excess deaths was was for the 35-54 age group.
COVID-19 is much more likely to kill older than younger people in the United States, but it also has led to a sharp increase in the death rate for working-age U.S. adults, an actuary says in a new report.
The ratio of the actual number of deaths to the expected number deaths is larger — meaning worse — for U.S. adults ages 35 through 64 than for U.S. adults ages 65 and older.
Rick Leavitt, a consulting actuary, has presented that assessment in a new study on 2020 excess mortality in the United States that was published by the Society of Actuaries (SOA).
From March 22, 2020, through Dec. 26, 2020, the ratio of the actual number of people who died in the United States to the expected number was 120%, Leavitt writes in the study.
In other words: The total number of deaths was about 20% higher than normal.
For all of 2020, the total number of deaths was about 14% to 16% higher than expected, according to Leavitt.
Leavitt determined what the expected death numbers were by getting and analyzing death count data from the most.
Actual-to-Expected Ratios by Age
Here’s what the actual-deaths-to-expected-deaths ratios looked like for four age groups over that same period, according to Leavitt’s analysis of federal government data:
- Under 15: 93.1%
- 15-34: 120.2%
- 35-64: 125.2%
- 65 and Older: 120%
Age and Sex
Leavitt also created a table that shows how both age and sex correlated with the actual-to-expected death count figures.
For girls ages 1 to 4, for example, the actual number of deaths was just 86.8% of the expected number. The number of deaths was more than 13% lower than expected.
For all female U.S. residents, the ratio was 118.4%, meaning that there were 18.4% more deaths of women and girls than expected.