Saturday, December 31, 2016

American white women are dying younger

It's highly unusual for death rates to increase in first world countries - the usual trend is for people to live longer. However, American white women are now dying younger than they once did. This is particularly true for rural white women. Black women, in comparison, have continued the expected trend of living longer.

Here are some graphs from the Washington Post illustrating the phenomenon. The first one shows the changes in the mortality rates from 1990 onwards for those aged 30 to 34:

You can see that things have improved considerably for black men and women in that age group. For black women, for instance, the mortality rate has declined by 40%. The situation for white men improved until about the year 2000 and has then declined. For white women mortality has worsened by over 20%.

The situation is worst for white women living in rural areas or small cities:

You can see that the trends have been bad for all whites in this age group since about the year 2000. However, it is worst for rural women, whose mortality rates have increased by well over 40%.

Why are white women dying younger? For the 30 to 34 year olds, it is mainly due to drug overdoses, with suicide also being a factor. For older white women, cirrhosis of the liver (heavy drinking) is another big factor, as is heart disease.

The graph above shows those causes of death that have increased since the year 2000. You can see that for both urban and rural women aged 50 to 54 that there has been an increase in deaths from drug overdoses, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide, and also from various lung diseases.

The question that is not fully answered in the Washington Post article is why white women are succumbing to drugs, alcohol and depression - particularly at a time when black women's health outcomes are significantly improving.

I'm not going to attempt  to answer that question now. I'd just point out that feminism does not seem to be making white women any happier.


  1. The first question that comes to my mind is "Is the composition of these groups changing?" In the case of blacks, the answer is definitely "yes" as we have many Africans coming into the country as immigrants. They are more intelligent and of a higher socio-economic class than the descendants of the slaves.

    As for "whites", is this group being expanded by immigrants who are Caucasian but not "white" per se? I think the answer here is "yes" also. And they are generally not as intelligent as U.S. whites and have had perhaps rougher lives in their home countries.

  2. Life expectancy peaked for those born in the 1930s-1940s among white populations. It is now falling in some groups. The key to understand this is the use of analysis by social class rather than age groups. This is where the major disparities lie and the aetiological factors can be understood.

    The lowest social classes have rising mortality rates as a consequence of lifestyle factors - processed foods, lack of exercise and a disorganised lifestyle have created an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, Cardiovascular disease and renal disease and cancer. The reduction in life expectancy is further exacerbated by a higher propensity to drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity with syphilis and gonorrhoea on the rise in addition to multiple other infections.

    Processed foods contain chemicals which lead to apathy and poor appetite suppression. This is not accidental. The food companies (largely monopolistic) have control of food production and distribution in much of the West and have created a working class demographic of obese yet ill nourished people who are physically and mentally slow and dumbed down hence few riots and opposition to highly controversial Government policies and actions.

    Cancer is another consequence of processed foods.

    The higher social strata which tends to have better nutrition and affordability for organic food, enjoys continued longevity with the exception of some sub groups - homosexuals, drug and alcohol abusers and smokers. However cancer is on the rise. Genetic heterogeneity appears to be a significant aetiological factor for highly malignant tumours with the mixed race demographic succumbing to these in high numbers.

  3. That health data for black women is improving since 1990 isn't surprising, since their numbers for 1990 probably was terrible. It is easy to go from 40 to 60 on a 0-100 scale, but far more difficult to go from 80 to 90.

    My guess (that is somewhat backed by statistics) is that the big downturn for womens health is the dying of "smalltown America". When the paper mill and coal mine closes women are probably taking more damage from poverty, isolation and lack of opportunities. Men can always hunt, drink or fight with other men and thereby keep their spirits up - women take on others problem, don't went their frustration/sadness and see the sum of all problems (from their childrens lousy education to the countys failing economy to the wave of suicides in the neighbourhood). And then the women starts to selfmedicate.

    Feminism isn't the cause - but "Sex in the City"-style feminism isn't the solution either. I think system reforms is the only solution.

    1. Good comment, but I'd add to the dying of smalltown America thesis that what you get as well as poverty and isolation is a decline in the kind of culture/ethos that once held things together. The Washington Post did some case studies and it seems that some of the men are no longer capable of providing much support - not just because of the loss of jobs but because they are too addicted or lack a stable work ethos. The men in the case studies seem to be demoralised. And this is where a connection to feminism does come in - that in feminist theory women are supposed to not need men and be able to flourish solo - but in these communities, the loss of the male contribution appears to be too much for some of the women to cope with and they end up drinking/taking drugs. Another connection to feminism: a stable, traditional family life was protective for women of this social class at least in comparison to what exists now.