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Death Rate for Young White Americans Is Rising Instead of Falling

An estimated 111,000 excess premature deaths occurred in white individuals between 1999 and 2014

DeathChalermphon Kumchai/DreamstimePremature death rates for young white Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives increased between 1999 and 2014, reports a new study in The Lancet. These disturbing results were reported by a team led by researchers from the National Cancer Institute that parsed data from National Center for Health Statistics. Death rates are supposed to be falling in modern prosperous societies like ours. From the study:

Increases [in death rates] were highest in women and those aged 25–30 years. Among 30-year-olds, annual mortality increases were 2·3% (95% CI 2·1–2·4) for white women, 0·6% (0·5–0·7) for white men, and 4·3% (3·5–5·0) and 1·9% (1·3–2·5), respectively, for American Indian and Alaska Native women and men. These increases were mainly attributable to accidental deaths (primarily drug poisonings), chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, and suicide. Among individuals aged 25–49 years, an estimated 111 000 excess premature deaths occurred in white individuals and 6600 in American Indians and Alaska Natives during 2000–14.

Largely as a result of these trends, U.S. life expectancy actually fell this past year for the first time since 1993. The good news is that the trajectory of death rates among Hispanics, blacks, and Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States continues downward. I reported on rising death rates among young and mid-life white Americans

The researchers conclude that rising death rates are ...

...primarily because of potentially avoidable causes such as drug poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The magnitude of annual mortality increases in the USA is extremely unusual in high-income countries, and a rapid public health response is needed to avert further premature deaths.

I have been reporting on rising death rates among young and mid-life white Americans for a while now. I speculate that death rates are rising because many poor white Americans have come to believe that the modern world is leaving them behind and are seeking solace in mind-numbing substances and suicide. For more background see my January 2017 article "Stuck" about my visit to McDowell County, West Virginia whence my paternal grandparents and father hail.

*Hat tip to Alex Berezow over at the superb American Council on Science and Health.

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  • Jerryskids||

    Death rate is still 1:1 last time I checked. For everybody.

  • Ron Bailey||

    J: Yes, well. But the Grim Reaper is coming earlier rather than later for many young white Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    We'll drink the wine till the cup is dry,
    And kiss the girls so they'll not cry,
    And toss the dice until we fly,
    To dance with Jak o' the Shadows.

  • Tundra||

    It's GMOs, man.

    *nods knowingly*

  • Robert||

    You mean HMOs?

  • GILMORE™||

    the Grim Reaper is coming earlier rather than later for many young white Americans and American Indians and Alaska Natives.

    In other words, people are being killed by pipelines. I knew it.

    #science

  • Aloysious||

    Pipelines and Frankenfoodz.

    It's, like, a conspiracy, man.

  • Lachowsky||

    I know a guy who has a cousin who has a friend that was murdered by a pipeline. In broad daylight. The authorities didn't even arrest the pipeline.

  • ||

    C'mon Fellas! This is obviously Trump's fault. The media will get to the bottom of it soon enough.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    The media is already at the bottom. Feeding like crazy, I tell you.

  • ||

    Yeah well Alexander conquered nations and built an empire by the time he was, what, 24?

    American kids are staying on the parents health plan until 26.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Yeah but he also believed he was part divinity. Do you know what that does for one's confidence?

  • commodious rebrands||

    That sounds like a lot of kids these days. Sun Kings, every one of them.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    American kids are staying on the parents health plan until 26.

    Also, I see y'all toss this sick burn around often but I did this. It's pretty obviously incentive based; how many of you would leave money on the table?

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    But look how healthy Alexander the Great was.

  • Bra Ket||

    By my rough count only around half of people who have ever lived have died. So I'd say the odds are about 50:50.

  • GILMORE™||

    only around half of people who have ever lived have died.

    that was their most boring record

  • Zeb||

    Over one's lifetime, yes, it seems a reasonable extrapolation. Though there are a lot of people who have yet to die, so it's not quite certain.

    Each year? Not so much.

  • chemjeff||

    But where is the Trump connection?

    I was expecting an Earth-shattering Trump connection.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    Trump is the red meat being tossed at the gathering storm to forestall what some believe is inevitable civil catastrophe resulting from the facts discussed in this article.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Well I'm sure there is at least a couple of white "knockout game" victims in those statistics.

  • MWG||

    The Trump-fueled orgy of fear of the Mexacans, refugees, and terrorists is what's doin' it. These people are dying from heart attacks.

  • Swiss Servator||

    CHECK YOUR WHITE PRIVILEGE!!!!!

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    I for one are be perturbed.

  • The Other Kevin||

    That was my first thought. More people are drinking and committing suicide over the guilt they have from their white privilege.

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    *looks in Gucci man purse*

    Yep, still there

  • Episteme||

    Having conquered this world, the White Man is now colonizing the World Beyond! Even in Death, the Colored Man will be a second-class citizen...

  • GILMORE™||

    #whitegenocide confirmed

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    #whitelash

  • chemjeff||

    Oh Lord.

    Yeah I suppose this type of report does fuel the #whitegenocide nonsense.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    Well, that and open joking about and calling for exactly such a thing by such artistic luminaries as Lena Dunham and presidential mentors like Bill Ayers.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Has anyone floated a "Obama distributed shitty opioids to kill whitey" theory? You know, the opposite of the "Reagan invented crack" theory?

  • GILMORE™||

    Has anyone floated a "Obama distributed shitty opioids to kill whitey" theory?

    You mean the ACA?

  • MWG||

    Zing!

  • Episteme||

    So THAT's why they had to pass the bill before anyone read what was inside the bill!

  • tarran||

    I have a crazy idea, why don't they just try not strangling economic activity so that these people can earn a living and enjoy the fruits of time spent on productive activities?

    No public health effort needed! Just stop destroying their lives!

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    Sorry, that would constitute a major interruption in rent seeking.

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    Are you nuts?

  • chemjeff||

    That is a great idea!

    This reminds me of something I was reading this morning, on the TV show The Expanse. Basically, in this show, set 200 years in the future, the poor underclass subsists on state-provided welfare, but are ineligible to actually work for a living if they accept the welfare. So they have to move off the planet if they want to work for a living. It's kinda hard not to see this as being modeled on our current state of affairs, except in this reality there's no other colonized planet to escape to. Only death. Which is pretty sad.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    One word for you: Mars. The Australia for the derelicts of the 21st century.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That's crazy talk.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...many poor white Americans have come to believe that the modern world is leaving them behind and are seeking solace in mind-numbing substances and suicide.

    That's a little bleak.

  • Riven||

    Life is bleak.

    When cops can beat down a 67 year old first responder nurse... I'm not sure Reason can give me any hope against the blue tide.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Not much good to say about Thomas Hobbes political philosophy, but I never really could argue against the claim:

    'Life is nasty, brutish, and short.'

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Though as fatalist as I so often can be; I do find a great number of joys in life. I've always been a bit of a Robert Frost fan, and as he once pen'd:

    'I hold your doctrine of Memento Mori
    And were an epitaph to be my story,
    I'd have a short one ready for my own.
    I would have written of me on my stone:
    I had a lover's quarrel with the world.'

  • Trshmnstr hates nurse beaters||

    I've always been an optimist. I see so many great things in the world that I could be doing or seeing or learning, and I tend to blame myself for any shortcomings in my happiness. There appears to be plenty of opportunity to do amazing things 365 days a year, but somehow I have chained myself to a life of sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    I tend to blame myself for any shortcomings

    This x1,000,000 is why I'll never, ever, be able to find any common understanding with the haters, rioters, and self-identifying oppressed victims of the world.

    I have chained myself to a life of sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen.

    I'm right there with you friend. All I can say is hold dear the 'great things in the world' that you find and endure as best you can. Remember in the words of Mark Twain:

    'No man is a failure that has friends'

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    (I'm on a quotes roll today, talk of macabre always turns me poetical)

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    Amen to that.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Fang and claw:

    Who trusted God was love indeed
    And love Creation's final law
    Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
    With ravine, shriek'd against his creed

    Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Thanks for this man, I've read it many times today... the usage of the word 'ravine' has me filling in the blanks, but I enjoy it all the same.

  • Rhywun||

    I'm not clear on why self-inflicted deaths should be included in life expectancy calculations.

  • Rhywun||

    More specifically, suicides. But then you have shades of meaning between "did he mean to drink himself to death"... Just spitballing here.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    Exactly, O Wry One. Most of the dead young white folks are probably just like Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, selfishly abandoning their spouses and children to go blow the family fortunes their ancestors accumulated from building highways, bridges, dams, and mineshafts on death by hedonism. I'm not sure why anyone who dies after not following a strict lifelong health regimen shouldn't be written off as a suicide and forgotten,

    Do you have any suggestions as to how we can kill off this degenerate demographic any quicker, lest their moral profligacy infect the other, superior classes of human being?

  • mtrueman||

    Suicide is immoral. So counting suicides along side more respectable dead people is disrespectful.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Because they're demographic calculations, not individual expectancies.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

    The illusion of hope is so hard to maintain.

    Back to reading the 'news'; that'll help....

  • AlmightyJB||

    I wouldn't want to be my liver.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Good riddance to bad rubish. But who will everyone else blame for their problems? The asians? Or are they considered white?

  • Diane Merriam||

    They don't really exist. Yellow is not a color so we can ignore them altogether.

    Wait! What do you mean they were mistreated the shortest time ago. WWII? Well, that was war. Doesn't count. The first immigration bans? It wasn't really aimed at them, it was all that opium. Besides, they were undercutting the American worker. Test scores? They must have figured out a better way to cheat. Earnings? Well, they all sell to each other so they all make each other rich. Doesn't have anything to do with the rest of us.

    Just close your eyes and repeat after me. "They don't count. They don't count. They ..."

  • Trshmnstr hates nurse beaters||

    I speculate that death rates are rising because many poor white Americans have come to believe that the modern world is leaving them behind and are seeking solace in mind-numbing substances and suicide.

    I think this is somewhat close, but I think there is one more layer of nuance there (that extends beyond poor rural whites). It's not necessarily that the modern world is leaving them behind. It's that the modern world has influenced them to set their expectations at a level that either make them prone to life-shortening activities, or at a level that they'll never achieve, making them prone to life-shortening activities. Young people fall into one of two categories according to the "modern world", either they're lumped in as poor idiot rednecks who are destined to marry their cousin and work on an alligator farm, or they're lumped in as bright up-and-coming superstars ready to achieve everything they could ever dream of. Both sides of the coin involve a massive letdown.

  • Drake||

    Drugs and suicide. Seen too much of it lately.

  • Tundra||

    Yes, and not just with young dudes. I have a suspician that male suicides in general are under reported.

  • Mencken Sense||

    You do see a lot of "died peacefully at his home" obits about 28-year-olds...

  • Lachowsky||

    Anecdotal, but.

    I live in a mostly poor white rural area. I'm 29 years old. Of all the people I went to school with who are now dead, 80% are due to suicide coupled with substance abuse. A few others from car accidents and 1 from being murdered, (also related to methamphetamine usage)

  • SIV||

    a rapid public health response is needed to avert further premature deaths.

    Whenever I hear the phrase "rapid public health response" I unsafe my premature death-inflictor.

  • GILMORE™||

    premature deaths.

    Look, don't feel bad, it happens to everyone sometimes.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Just another example of our "white privilege" that we get to check out of this bitch early. /sarc

  • ant1sthenes||

    I can't help but wonder whether the constant stream of whitenhassen from TPTB is a contributing factor, in addition to the more material woes.

  • commodious rebrands||

    Breaking news: President Trump appears to have purposefully hidden his use of a hair-loss drug.

    I'm at a loss for words. If he's covering up such earth-shattering information as this, what else is he lying about??

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    Just imagine, we could have had that model of health, Mademoiselle Clinton, in there instead.

  • John||

    after 8 years of a scandal free administration, here we are not even two weeks in and we have hairgate. I want to know, what did the President use and when did he use it.

    The people deserve answers. In Donald Trump's America men lie about hair loss. America weeps.

  • commodious rebrands||

    It's an insult to the follicularly challenged everywhere!

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Haul him before Congress. Make him testify under oath that he is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of the Hair Club for Men.

  • John||

    Chuck Schumer has the names of 13 members of the Hair Club for Men who work in the White House. He demands answers!!

  • Lachowsky||

    His hair product wasn't even taxed at the same rate as tampons. Scandalous I say!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    In Donald Trump's America men lie about hair loss

    I thought it was "In Donald Trump's America, hair loss lies about you!"

  • ||

    The Post has gone completely off the rails. Even Radley Balko has been virtue signalling so hard lately it's visible from space.

  • ||

    Coming up next; an Expose' on Reagan's Hair.

    They'll dig up his corpse to prove he used hair color.

  • ||

    Well, you know Jeff Bezos is a sonofabitch to work for, and he seems to be out of love with Trump.

  • Aloysious||

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls

    FTFY, Ron

  • FreeRadical||

    I love the Metallica of old, and I always thought this song was about suicide. But it's actually about dying in battle in a war. Metallica was pretty anti-war.

    There are two metal songs about suicide that always devastate me: Waste by Staind and Suicide Season by Bring Me the Horizon.

  • John||

    primarily because of potentially avoidable causes such as drug poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.

    That is a sickness of the soul. That is a sad and tragic statistic.

  • commodious rebrands||

    My death will be untimely, much too soon, and my widows and abundant progeny will wall and tend garments.

  • John||

    Yes. The actuaries say when you should die. Don't do it early and end up going somewhere you are are not invited.

  • ||

    Not me, I'm hoping to be late to my meeting with fate.

  • Lachowsky||

    and a rapid public health response is needed to avert further premature deaths.

    Oh please dont. Really don't do it.

  • Raven Nation||

    Ron: do the combat deaths since 2001 have any significant effect on mortality rates?

  • Lachowsky||

    There have been 6000+ combat deaths of American soldiers since 2001. Out of the number 110000 cited in the article, that is a not insignificant percentage.

  • mtrueman||

    "There have been 6000+ combat deaths of American soldiers since 2001."

    Aren't there un-combat related suicides of these guys pretty much every day?

  • ||

    At least for the Army, the suicide rates for people who didn't deploy was slightly higher than for those who did.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    Uselessness is a hell of a bad feeling.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    ...not to imply that support personnel are actually useless, of course.

  • ||

    Not really the point, as the nature of OIF/OEF was such that support people were deployed more and often just as engaged as combat personnel.

    The issue was likely that people who had issues were more likely to be left behind, combined with poorly executed reactions by the Army to the 'Suicide Epidemic'.

  • mtrueman||

    When I said 'these guys' I was thinking about those serving in the miltary in general rather than those who've seen combat in particular. But your point is interesting and counter-intuitive, and persuasive. I guess there are worse things about army life than risking your neck under enemy fire.

  • Zunalter||

    Could we please make a distinction between death rates from natural causes and those of unnatural causes? It doesn't do a lot for people to say "the average life expecancy of a white male is 71" when you are accounting for suicide, war deaths, drug/alcohol OD, etc...

    Though, perhaps in this comment section, having that last distinction included would be helpful.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

  • afk05||

    Maybe if they would all get jobs, even if that requires moving or getting training/education, rather than just shooting up heroin and smoking meth, that might help them live longer. Plenty of poor white people live off of the welfare state as well.

  • LurkinInaBuildin||

    And plenty of working and well-educated people use meth and heroin.

  • BearOdinson||

    BREAKING NEWS:
    The death rate of all Americans reaches 100%!!

  • BearOdinson||

    The good news is that the trajectory of death rates among Hispanics, blacks, and Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States continues downward. I reported on rising death rates among young and mid-life white Americans

    Racing towards equality bitches!

  • mtrueman||

    "For more background see my January 2017 article "Stuck" about my visit to McDowell County, West Virginia whence my paternal grandparents and father hail."

    Also sounds like what happened in Russia when Yeltsin and his American advisors took over Russia in the 1990's.

    What is difficult to understand is why the infant mortality rate is so high. Why are American infants choosing to die in greater numbers than their neighbouring communist infants living in Cuba?

  • NoVaNick||

    The infant and maternal death rate has gone up, or not fallen, in the US in recent years because women are giving birth at older ages-thanks to their education and careers-which increases the risk of death at childbirth for mom and baby. My guess is that women in Cuba don't have these options and probably have their first baby in their late teens or early 20s.

  • mtrueman||

    If American women with rewarding careers and higher education are dying at greater rates than otherwise, you might be on to something. I'm pretty skeptical though. Cuba's numbers are also closer to countries like Canada and the UK. Both are fairly wealthy and not known for a lack of options, though all three have some degree of socialized medicine.

  • NoVaNick||

    My point is that giving birth for the first time after age 35 raises the risk of maternal or child death. Not that educated women are dying in greater numbers at that age-there is a lot of data on this. I don't know whether more women in Cuba, Canada, or the UK wait to have their first baby until they are in there late 30s, but it is definitely a trend here, especially among the more affluent.

  • mtrueman||

    I think the increased risk of late child bearing is more than offset by the increased medical care that the more affluent have access to. That also seems to be a judgement shared by those who choose late child bearing.

  • Diane Merriam||

    The first thing to check is how do they define infant mortality. Each country has its own definitions on how to report it. In the US it can be as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy. In some countries it's not counted unless the child has made it to a certain time after birth (I've heard of up to six weeks, but don't quote me on that). Quite often we're comparing apples and oranges.

  • mtrueman||

    Check again using the UN figures. Or check with the figures cited in the CIA handbook. The CIA is a lavishly funded government outfit manned by many who feel outright hostility towards Cuba, yet the infant mortality figures they give for the island are in line with the UN numbers. I doubt very much they simply regurgitate glowing Cuban government reporting. But I may be underestimating how 8 years of Obama's secret muslimy communism has infected the CIA.

  • kbolino||

    I'm sure Cuban statistics are 100% accurate. Tell me, do they include babies born in the labor camps?

  • mtrueman||

    Feel free to the commie numbers if you wish. Or better yet, expose them for the lies they are.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'm sure Cuban statistics are 100% accurate."

    I'm sure that the statistics of each one of the 30 odd nations that scored lower rates than the USA are less than 100% accurate, and that goes double for Cuba! Therefore, .... errrrrgo...., something.

  • NoVaNick||

    This must be due to:
    1. Climate Change
    2. Donald Trump
    3. Alt-Right
    4. E-cigarettes
    5. All of the above
    6. Trick question-this is fake news.

  • Uncle Jay||

    RE: Death Rate for Young White Americans Is Rising Instead of Falling
    An estimated 111,000 excess premature deaths occurred in white individuals between 1999 and 2014

    Racial equality at last!

  • Zeb||

    So, obviously, all else being equal, higher death rates among any group is not desirable.

    But when the deaths can be attributed to personal choices, like using dangerous drugs, drinking excessively or suicide, it could be a lot worse. If death rates were rising because of murder or car crashes or some new infectious disease, it would be much worse. If people are dying because of their own bad decisions, it's not really a public health issue.

  • mtrueman||

    You think people shoot up with adulterated heroin they buy on the black market out of choice? There's where the dangers of heroin lie, dealing with dodgy criminals to get your gear, and when you do get it, you really have no idea what's in it or its strength. That's all down to the prohibition, and any Libertarian won't tell you any different. If anything is a public health issue, this is it. Saying otherwise shows me you haven't put a moment's thought into your comment.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    They get what they deserve.

  • Pat (PM)||

    Thank God. That means we have space for at least 111,000 more Muslim refugees!

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    "Among individuals aged 25–49 years, an estimated 111 000 excess premature deaths occurred in white individuals and 6600 in American Indians and Alaska Natives during 2000–14."

    I new Elizabeth Warren had to be Undead!

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    *knew

  • Eman||

    As unexcitedabout the aca as I am, its not like our healthcare system was anything close to a free marketnbeforehand. It still sort of acted like it enough to fool most people some of the time, but its totally been Nazi style socialism for at least twenty years. Could this be where we were, like, absorbing the inefficiency? That's totally something you could paper over with statistics for a while too.

  • rageon||

    "Drug poisonings" are a direct and easily seeable consequence of drug laws. More blood on the the hands of everyone who supports prohibition.

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