Jan 7, 2016

Deaths Per 100,000 People Aged 45-54



"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."

"That finding was reported Monday by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton, who last month won the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, and Anne Case. Analyzing health and mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from other sources, they concluded that rising annual death rates among this group are being driven not by the big killers like heart disease and diabetes but by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abusealcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids."


"They concluded that taken together, suicides, drugs and alcohol explained the overall increase in deaths. The effect was largely confined to people with a high school education or less. In that group, death rates rose by 22 percent while they actually fell for those with a college education."

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Very startling research:  Click below to read the article:

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I am a member of the leading edge of the baby boom, so the cohort described are folks younger than me. Why would this group be so badly hit by these problems?

Possible explanations - my speculations.

1.  Drug abuse was stronger for the cohort behind mine.

2.  My age group absorbed many of the quality blue collar jobs - Police, Fire, Industry.  The group behind us did not find as many excellent jobs, and they were more often the victims of industrial downsizing.

3. Younger people were the last hired first fired.  Losing jobs and losing benefits may have depressed their outlooks.

4.  Equal opportunity programs favored the hiring of minorities over whites.

5.  Quality blue quality jobs have been declining in number for many years, as overseas competition beat our industries.


Our cohort faced all the same problems listed above. In addition, we were the Vietnam Vets, with all the reports of drug abuse and mental problems, and a high death rate from the war. But the group of concern here was the group after ours. And they appear to have suffered the most.