After growing for decades, life expectancy in the U.S. decreased for three consecutive years, driven by higher death rates among middle-aged Americans, a new study suggests.
Midlife all-cause mortality charges had been growing between 2010 and 2017, pushed by higher numbers of deaths attributable to drug overdoses, alcohol abuse, suicides, and organ system diseases, reminiscent of hypertension and diabetes, according to the report released in JAMA.
The rising rates of midlife mortality hit some areas of the nation harder than others, Woolf and his coauthor found. Increases were highest in northern New England and the Ohio Valley.
Noting that a pattern of increasing death in middle age is just not seen in different high earnings nations, Woolf mentioned this could be because “in different nations, there are more aid programs for individuals who fall on hard times. In America, families are left to their own devices to try to get by.”
Records for the research came from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Mortality Database for 1959 to 2017. The researchers further sought the medical literature for studies on U.S. life expectancy and mortality traits.
Based on the information, life expectancy had increased by almost ten years over the course of almost six decades – from 69.9 years to 78.9 years – however, it had been decreasing since 2014. And the overall plunge was defined by increased mortality among the middle-aged.
Death rates among the middle-aged weren’t constant across the nation. The largest relative increases in mid-life mortality rates happened in New Hampshire, 23.3%, West Virginia, 23.0%, Ohio, 21.6%, Maine, 20.7%, Vermont, 19.9%, Indiana, 14,8% and Kentucky, 14.7%.