Among 45-to-54-year-old whites, mortality rates increased by 8.9 percent between 1999 and 2013. Most of the increase came from suicides, drug overdoses and alcoholism. Meanwhile, mortality rates among blacks and Hispanics in the same age group have decreased, largely due to decreases in deaths from illness and other natural causes.
Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds - The New York Times
The Death Rate Is Rising for Middle-Aged Whites - WSJSomething 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 abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.
White, middle-aged Americans are dying at a rising rate, a new study shows, a startling reversal that suggests addiction and mental-health issues are setting back decades of gains in longevity. Suicide, alcohol abuse, drug overdoses and chronic liver diseases largely drove the rise, which occurred between 1999 and 2013, according to the report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Those causes of death offset declines in other major drivers of mortality in midlife, such as lung cancer, the study said. The study “is going to change the game” for setting research priorities in public health, predicted Michael Eriksen, dean of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, who wasn’t involved in the work. “Substance abuse and alcoholism are taking their toll in a way people haven’t acknowledged,” he said. No other rich country has seen a similar reversal, and the trend is at odds with falling death rates for black and Hispanic Americans in that age group over the same period, said the authors, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, who are economics professors at Princeton University. Mr. Deaton won the Nobel Prize in economics this year.Death rate on the rise for middle-aged white Americans - CNN.com
A group of middle-aged whites in the U.S. is dying at a startling rate - The Washington PostFor decades, nearly all Americans -- in every age and racial group -- have seen decreases in death rates. But in the last nearly 15 years, middle-aged white Americans have been left out, according to a study.Death rates for white Americans ages 45 to 54 climbed half a percent each year between 1999 and 2013, researchers at Princeton University found using mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the previous two decades, the death rate for this group had dropped by 2% each year. Middle-aged blacks and Hispanics continued to see a 2% annual decline between 1999 and 2013.
“Drugs and alcohol, and suicide . . . are clearly the proximate cause,” said Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics, who co-authored the paper with his wife, Anne Case. Both are economics professors at Princeton University. “Half a million people are dead who should not be dead,” he added. “About 40 times the Ebola stats. You’re getting up there with HIV-AIDS.”
Since at least 1970, Americans and residents of other wealthy countries have generally enjoyed longer and healthier lives, as smoking has declined, better treatments have been developed and preventive measures and lifestyle changes have had an impact.