• Life expectancy isn’t always going up

    Tyler Cowen notes that some life expectancies are shrinking:

    The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found.

    Regular readers will note that we discussed this trend a few months ago:

    Moreover, did you see my emphasis? Some counties in the US saw life expectancy drop over the last twenty years. Look at this map:

    The red areas are where life expectancy fell over twenty years for women. I’m willing to bet those also happen to be some of the poorest areas of the country. Think about that whenever someone talks about increasing the eligibility age for Medicare or Social Security. The people who lose the most benefits are also likely those who need the programs the most.


    • This looks a lot like just about every map that the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare has published about poor health status!

    • The commenters on marginal revolution speculate that the study did not properly adjust for the decrease in number of people not graduating high school. If they are correct then this is an example of yellow journalism. I hope that they at least adjusted for decrease in number of people not graduating in regards to people who die before graduating.