“Between 1999 and 2013, the death rate for white, middle-aged, working-class Americans increased by 22 percent. This explosion in premature deaths was driven by a surge in opioid overdoses, alcohol-related fatalities, and suicides. Meanwhile, over the same period, medical advances pushed down the death rates of college-educated whites, and the working-class members of other racial groups.
The economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case first brought these disconcerting facts to national attention in 2015. Their research painted a portrait of a white working class besieged by “despair.” Erosion in the demographic’s wages, marriage rates, job quality, social cohesion, cultural capital, and, perhaps, racial privilege, were ostensibly driving an ever-larger number of non-college-educated whites into suicidal behavior. The economists offered no definitive, causal explanation for the phenomenon they documented. But they suggested that the rising mortality of this demographic was linked to a sense of meaninglessness, rooted in social and economic conditions.”
Source: NYMag.com – January 15, 2018