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More Bad U.S. Demographics News: Lifespans Falling

Dec. 8, 2016 (EIRNS)—Another report has shown the demographic effects of economic devastation in the United States’ past 15 years under Presidents Bush and Obama.

The National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) reported yesterday that death rates rose across the whole American population in 2015 (relative to 2014, and to 1999) for eight of the 10 most common diseases.

A drumbeat of scholarly reports and data analyses published over a year and a half, have shown the unprecedented appearance of a rising death rate among the white population of working age. Now the whole population is encompassed in this rise. "This is singular. This doesn’t happen," commented Dr. Ann Case of Princeton, co-author of the first such shocking study, in September 2015.

The new study’s lead author, epidemiologist Jiaquan Xu, told today's Washington Post, "This is unusual and we don’t know what happened. So many leading causes of death increased."

Moreover, the HHS study finds the American population’s overall lifespan starting to fall. Male life expectancy at birth fell to 76.3 years in 2015 from 76.5 in 2014; female life expectancy from 81.3 to 81.2. Infant mortality rose "slightly." Only two months ago, the American Society of Actuaries projected such drops statistically, based on increasingly pessimistic assumptions actuaries are making about death rates. In that Oct. 28 report, the Actuaries said, "If Americans’ health continues to decline, the assumptions in this report will still prove too optimistic." At that time, they were still assuming an overall death rate falling (though extremely slowly) among all Americans. But that rate is now rising.

"This is a big deal," said Philip Morgan, a demographer at the University of North Carolina."There’s not a better indicator of well-being than life expectancy," Another researcher, University of Michigan’s David Wier, commented, "There’s just this across-the-board phenomenon of not doing very well in the United States."

A sad illustration of the economic devastation underlying this dramatic change, is the New York Times’ report today of a "continuing surge in the homeless population" in New York, resulting in 5,800 hundred family members being put into rented rooms by the city because homeless shelters are full; only 1,237 people were in such rented rooms on Jan. 1, 2016. The city today is mourning the deaths of two toddlers killed by scalding water when a radiator burst in one of those rented rooms.

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