Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds – The New York Times

Can you feel the water level rising like it has been raining for 40 days and 40 nights?

“Oh that I had wings like a dove. For then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” Psalm 55


Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds – The New York Times

  • Something startling is happening to middle-aged white Americans. Unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.
  • In middle age, they are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case found.
  • “It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude,” wrote two Dartmouth economists,
  • But suicides alone, he and Dr. Case realized, were not enough to push up overall death rates, so they began looking at other causes of death. That led them to the discovery that deaths from drug and alcohol poisoning also increased in this group.
  • They concluded that taken together, suicides, drugs and alcohol explained the overall increase in deaths.
  • With the pain and mental distress data, Dr. Deaton said, “we had the two halves of the story.” Increases in mortality rates in middle-aged whites rose in parallel with their increasing reports of pain, poor health and distress, he explained. They provided a rationale for the increase in deaths from substance abuse and suicides.

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