A 2015 research published an astonishing discovery regarding white middle class Americans. For the first time in decades, it indicated that the middle-aged population are dying younger. This is regardless of the optimistic life expectancy trends in some parts of the American population and other wealthy countries.
The study was conducted by Angus Deaton and Anne Case of Princeton University who emphasized the connection between drug overdoses, alcohol, suicides and economic struggles. Ever since, both have been trying to provide more explanation to support their findings.
After several assumptions, they ended up concluding that it was simply complicated. They say that there really isn’t a single explanation as to why the mortality rate for this age group has disturbingly increased. Nevertheless, below are some of the primary reasons that could have caused it:
- Drug overdose, alcohol and suicidal deaths have escalated throughout the country.
A growing issue among midlife white individuals is their inclination towards alcoholism, suicide and drug overdoses, especially caused by opioid painkillers. They were able to trace the beginning of the epidemic, which was in the Southwest of the country. However, the crisis has now spread all throughout the U.S., regardless if it is an urban or rural setting.
The researchers reveal that the issue is widespread among middle aged residents, and those who don’t have a college degree are more prone to committing the acts. They say it might have been due to the labor market, but religion, child rearing, marriage and their health when they were still a child may have also affected it.
- Increase in deaths caused by chronic diseases, like diabetes.
This age group might have surpassed mortality from cancer and heart disease, but they are still trying to overcome chronic diseases. Over the past couple of decades, the prevalence with diabetes blew up immensely. Around 30 million Americans live with the disease today, which is three times more than the total in the 1990s.
When it comes to the rise in midlife mortality, Americans seem to be the only ones who are trying to beat the issue. In comparison, the mortality rate in other rich countries is continuously falling. To get over the trend, Americans have to provide more accessible health care and create a more generous safety net.