A recent paper by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, two professors from Princeton, report on finding a startling rise in death and morbidity among among men and women in mid-life. This is associated with the overall decline in American lifespan.
The change is dramatic. The average age of death in the U.S. had been rising steadily for over a century. It stopped rising around 1999. It has declined since then. If mortality had remained where it was in 1999 7,000 fewer people would have died in 2015. Had it kept rising at the previous rate nearly 50,000 fewer people would have died in 2015.
I respect the study. It is good data. I have serious doubts about the analysis which puts a great deal of blame on alcohol and street drugs because the death rate most affects Americans who didn’t go to college. It is also reflected in morbidity data. But everyone is affected in America, to some extent.
I personally favor the professor’s explanation because it coincides with my own observation that the Democrat control of Congress starting in 2006 and the rise of Obama have been disheartening for real America and has led to an absolute decline in new businesses and a rise in business failures.
However, I think we will find other factors in play when the data is studied more closely.
It appears to me the rise in middle age mortality and morbidity may be due to a drop in the younger age group from 17 to 35. The younger age group is the beneficiary of the decline in automobile deaths of about 8,000 fewer auto deaths a year since 1999.
I suspect the rise in the mid-life mortality may be due primarily to the influx of millions of Latin Americans. Latin Americans bring with them a much higher mortality rate (a lower age of average death) than the rest of the American population and the Latin American rate of college attendance is much lower too.
I’m willing to go along with an explanation that combinations illegal aliens in the country and a despair arising from the end of the joyous hippie era.
Reversal of longstanding and reliable data like mortality is significant and will certainly generate more study. There are one hell of a lot of actuaries running around.