Posted on November 5, 2019

Life Expectancy for American Men Drops for a Third Year

Aimee Picchi, CAB News, October 31, 2019

Life expectancy for American men dropped for a third consecutive year, with the National Center for Health Statistics citing an increase in so-called “deaths of despair,” such as the rise in drug overdose deaths.

The average lifespan of men in the U.S. dipped to 76.1 years in 2017 (the latest data available), amounting to a four-month decline in life expectancy since 2014. The findings shed additional light on economic research into the sharp increase in recent years in deaths from overdoses and suicides among white men with less education.

Princeton economists Anne Case and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton first highlighted the issue in 2015 with their research on how white, less-educated Americans had veered off track. In 1999, the mortality rate for this demographic was about 30% lower than those of African-Americans. But by 2015, their mortality rate had eclipsed that of blacks by 30%, the economists found. The reason? A spike in death rates due to alcohol and drug poisoning, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis.


“From 2013 to 2017, the drug overdose death rate increased by an average of 18.5% per year among men aged 25–34 and by an average of 18.8% per year among men aged 35–44.”

America is an outlier


{snip} Men who are among the richest 1% of Americans live almost 15 years longer than those who are in the poorest 1%, the Harvard analysis found. The gap was about 10 years for the richest versus poorest women.

Poor Americans are more likely to skip or delay health care treatment because of cost, the NCHS study said. It’s an issue that impacts about 1 in 6 Americans who live at or below the poverty line, the study found.


Life expectancy for women, black and Latino residents has held steady since 2014, the agency said.