Dr. Helen

Is the Obama Economy Causing Lower Life Expectancy?

I read this article at NPR and wondered how suicide and the economy impacted the lower life expectancy found in this new data:

One of the fundamental ways scientists measure the well-being of a nation is tracking the rate at which its citizens die and how long they can be expected to live.

So the news out of the federal government Thursday is disturbing: The overall U.S. death rate has increased for the first time in a decade, according to an analysis of the latest data. And that led to a drop in overall life expectancy for the first time since 1993, particularly among people younger than 65.

“This is a big deal,” says Philip Morgan, a demographer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who was not involved in the new analysis.

“There’s not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy,” he says. “The fact that it’s leveling off in the U.S. is a striking finding.”…

Most notably, the overall death rate for Americans increased because mortality from heart disease and stroke increased after declining for years. Deaths were also up from Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and diabetes. More Americans also died from unintentional injuries and suicide. In all, the decline was driven by increases in deaths from eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S…

The rise in drug abuse and suicide could be due to economic factors causing despair.

“Clearly, that could be related to the economic circumstances that many Americans have experienced in the last eight years, or so, since the recession,” says Irma Elo, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.

For the past eight years, we have seen an administration and policies that have done little to help employment opportunities for men, does not focus much on the high male suicide rate and has even blocked a White House Council for Men and Boys.

Maybe with a better economy and a task force to explore the needs of men and boys, life expectancy will improve under a Trump Administration. One can only hope.