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CDC Life Expectancy Report Has Bad News for White Women

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By    |   Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 12:11 PM

The life expectancy of non-Hispanic white women has dropped slightly, running counter to a trend toward longer lifespans.

According to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, life expectancy didn’t change between 2013 and 2014, remaining at 78.8 years overall — 76.4 years for men and 81.2 for women. Life expectancy for non-Hispanic white women, however, fell from 81.2 years to 81.1 years, representing the only drop in the data.

The drop could be a statistical blip, but Laudan Yvett Aron, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, told ABC News that it may reflect increasing rates of suicide, drug use, and cirrhosis of the liver.

"We know what the specific causes of death are that may explain this particular increase," she said. "Really it’s a bigger conversation we need to be having."

Wednesday's report reflects recent reports that drugs, alcohol, and suicide are taking an increasing toll on white Americans, The Huffington Post noted.

Jarron Saint Onge, a health policy and sociology expert at the University of Kansas, said poor white women in particular may be the driving force behind the decline.

“At its core, [the increasing mortality rates of white women] is really a big structural issue about access to education and healthy environments along with the risk of poverty,” Saint Onge said. “I believe the answer is really about providing educational and employment opportunities, and reducing the suffering and negative coping strategies that frequently result from the lack of opportunities.”

The life expectancy for Hispanic women rose from 83.8 years to 84 years, pushing the expectancy for Hispanics of both genders up from 81.6 years to 81.8 years. Non-Hispanic blacks males also saw an increase from 71.8 years to 72.2 years, driving a rise in life expectancy for all non-Hispanic blacks from 75.1 years to 75.2 years.

“The gap between the white and black populations is quickly closing, and it’s mainly because the black population is experiencing a great drop in mortality,” CDC demographer Elizabeth Arias said, according to The Washington Post.

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The life expectancy of non-Hispanic white women has dropped slightly, running counter to a trend toward longer lifespans.
cdc, life expectancy, report, white, women
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2016-11-21
Thursday, 21 Apr 2016 12:11 PM
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