Whites lagging in lengthening life, data says

Data continues to show that life expectancy for Americans is still rising, but the improvement for whites is slower than for other groups.

And not only are they seeing slower improvement, whites no longer have the longest life expectancy among American groups.

Between 2000 and 2014, the most recent government data, the life expectancy at birth of non-Hispanic Whites increased by 1.4 years, according to demographer Cheryl Russell, crunching data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

That’s well below the increase seen for Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks, said Russell, author of the Demo Memo web site.

Race of course is a sensitive subject. But recent data on health and life expectancy has been providing some backup to analysts who say some political trends are driven by more than just economics.

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Of course, there are also studies that show how economics may be a real factor.

Here’s the breakdown, as of 2014 compared to 2000:

— For blacks, life expectancy at birth was 75.2 years: up 3.6 years.

— For Hispanics, life expectancy was 81.8 years, up 2.6 years.

— For whites, life expectancy was 78.8 years, up 1.4 years.

Of course, the big question is: why?

The government data shows “rising death rates from unintentional poisoning, suicide, and chronic liver disease,” Russell said.

But there are also generational splits, she said: the overall statistics are apparently driven by rising death rates among whites in three age groups: 25 to 34, 35 to 44, and 45 to 54.

And the single biggest factor in those ages? Drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning.

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