Friday, September 21, 2012

Some Americans Are Living Longer. Not So for Uneducated White Americans.

Maybe that's why they joined the Tea Party.   America's least educated white population is not faring particularly well.   A study has shown their life expectancy has fallen by four years since the 1990's. 

Researchers have long documented that the most educated Americans were making the biggest gains in life expectancy, but now they say mortality data show that life spans for some of the least educated Americans are actually contracting. Four studies in recent years identified modest declines, but a new one that looks separately at Americans lacking a high school diploma found disturbingly sharp drops in life expectancy for whites in this group. Experts not involved in the new research said its findings were persuasive. 

 The reasons for the decline remain unclear, but researchers offered possible explanations, including a spike in prescription drug overdoses among young whites, higher rates of smoking among less educated white women, rising obesity, and a steady increase in the number of the least educated Americans who lack health insurance.

The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008.


Troy said...

Which is why they're trying their best to raise the age for pension benefits, of course. Because, on the whole, people are living longer. Never mind, as Paul Krugman remarked, that it's the richest who are actually bringing about the distortion in life expectancy charts.

Part-time janitors who somehow survive on the minimum wage should have to work longer cause bankers are living longer! (Again, kudos to Krugman.)

I'm interested in the geological demographics of this study, too. Where in the USA is this decline occurring, most? I'm hedging my bets that it's in the red states rather than the blue, as the red states have the worst education rates, too, which, as Ian Welsh has illustrated time and again, have a terrible public education system. (Linking public education funding to land value is possibly one of the worst policies the USA has implemented, and that's saying something. It's something that feeds into even further cycles of national decline, such as the rising prison population, because people turn to illegitimate forms of self-financing, and as this study shows, leads to further burden on the healthcare system, which again, in the USA, is criminally awful.)

Observe the USA for any length of time, and I find myself thanking fortune or fate I wasn't born there. The place is headed for further collapse, one pillar, one citizen, at a time.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hard to argue with your conclusion, Troy. I think their society is hopelessly rent and the divisiveness and class war (the one the American blue and white collar working classes have never understood was underway) will pretty much deny them any soft landing.

I suspect heat waves, drought and cyclical floods will do in considerable swathes of the U.S. south and southwest. Coupled with sea level rise and salination of coastal freshwater resources, the United States oculd soon be dealing with a significant internal displacement problem.

There's a real shitstorm coming.