With advances in medicine and increased prosperity, you would imagine that life expectancies in America would continue to rise. But you’d be wrong. “Deaths of despair” continue to rise in America.
Some of the findings from the most recent CDC report:
American life expectancy is continuing its recent decline, according to the CDC’s latest statistical release. Americans are dying at an average age of 78.6. Though that is roughly the same life expectancy the CDC reported last year, the agency called it a decline of a tenth of a year. The drop has been driven significantly by 70,237 deaths from drug overdoses. For comparison, that number’s nearly equal to the entire population of Bismarck, North Dakota’s capital. In 2016, a fifth of all deaths among Americans aged 24 to 35 were due to opioids.
Health experts typically expect longevity to increase as the economy grows and more health advancements are made, so the fact that life expectancy has been flat or trending downward for years now is concerning.
This data point, says Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, “confirms that there’s a profound change in the trajectory of mortality. This should really be getting everyone’s attention in a major way.”