'Bleak' New Report on Life Expectancy Is Out

More Americans are dying young
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 7:26 PM CST
New Report on Life Expectancy Is 'Bleak'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / kieferpix)

The Journal of the American Medical Association is out with a new report on US life expectancy and mortality rates that LiveScience calls "alarming" and the Washington Post calls "strikingly bleak": It found, among other things, that the highest relative jump in death rates from 2010 to 2017, 29%, was in the 25-to-34 age group. The Post specifically calls out suicides, drug overdoses and the opioid epidemic, and liver disease as being among the dozens of causes of death that have been rising for young and middle-aged adults over the past 10 years, which in turn has caused the US' overall life expectancy to drop for three years in a row.

The US is quickly falling behind other wealthy countries when it comes to life expectancy, and the increase in the death rates of working-age people is a "distinctly American phenomenon," the lead author says. "It’s supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries," he says. "The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong. ... Some of it may be due to obesity, some of it may be due to drug addiction, some of it may be due to distracted driving from cellphones." A public health expert not involved in the study tells LiveScience that until just a few years ago, "it was largely assumed that life expectancy would always increase in the future. Now the nation risks a future in which declining life expectancy may be the new norm." For more on the many stats included in the report, see the Post and LiveScience. (Read more life expectancy stories.)

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