(Bloomberg) — Middle-aged, non-Hispanic white Americans saw a “marked increase” in mortality between 1999 and 2013, a reversal from a decades-long decline that can be largely explained by a spike in suicide, substance abuse and liver disease, new research shows.
“No other rich country saw a similar turnaround,” Angus Deaton, the Princeton University professor who won this year’s Nobel Prize in economics, and co-author Anne Case write in a study dated Sept. 17. “Although all education groups saw increases in mortality from suicide and poisonings, and an overall increase in external cause mortality, those with less education saw the most marked increases.”
The change in overall mortality was driven by those with a high-school degree or less, the study found, drawing from sources including data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Census Bureau. Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher saw death rates fall — though they too posted an increase in mortality from suicide and drug and alcohol poisonings.