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Less Educated White Adults Dying Younger

October 7, 2012
Plain English Version

A new study looks at the average age of death for white adults in America.

Whites do not include Hispanics, who are reported on separately.

White adults without a high school degree are actually dying younger! For white women without high school degrees, the age of death dropped from 78 years in 1990 to 73 years in 2008. For white men without high school degrees, the average age of death dropped from 71 years to 67 years.

Experts are not sure why this is happening. They suspect three primary reasons:

  • Overdoses of prescription drugs
  • Smoking
  • Lack of health care and insurance

In the same time period, the average age of death of black and Hispanic men and women without high school degrees rose.

All Hispanic men and women lived longer lives than whites and blacks.

Experts say it is good news that the number of white adults in the United States without high school degrees is going down – from 22 percent of the population in 1990 to 12 percent in 2008. However, those without degrees may have the most problems.

Still, the experts are not sure why this trend is happening. “Something is going on in the lives of disadvantaged white women that is leading to some really alarming trends in life expectancy,” said one.

The New York Times

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