March 23, 2017

DEPLORABLE: Death Rates Rise for Wide Swath of White Adults, Study Finds.

Mortality has been rising since the turn of this century for an even broader swath of white adults, starting at age 25, the researchers found, driven by troubles in a hard-hit working class. Death rates for white non-Hispanics with a high-school education or less now exceed those of blacks overall, the pair said—and they’re 30% higher for whites age 50 to 54 than for blacks overall of that age.

Blacks have long had a much higher death rate than whites, but that rate has dropped steeply since the beginning of this century, while the rate for whites has crept up.

Driving the uptick are increases in “deaths of despair”—from drugs, alcohol-related liver diseases and suicide, as well as a slowdown in progress against death in middle age from heart disease and cancer, the nation’s biggest killers, wrote Anne Case and Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton, her husband. The pair examined more than 15 data sets, including government health statistics, death certificates and various economic indicators.

The analysis paints a portrait of a gradual “collapse of the white, high-school-educated working class after its heyday in the early 1970s,” whose health, mental well-being, and attachment to the labor force have become successively worse for people born after 1945, they said.

What changed for high school graduates starting in the mid-’60s?

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