Summary: A new study reports life expectancies are declining in the US for Generation X and Y individuals. Researchers say the causes of premature mortality vary by race, gender and ethnicity.
Source: Duke University.
Declining life expectancies in the U.S. include Gen X and Y Americans, in addition to the older Baby Boomers. But the causes of premature mortality vary by race, gender and ethnicity, according to a new study from Duke University.
“We identified late-Gen X (38- to 45-year-olds) and early-Gen Y (27- to 37-year-olds) as age cohorts with elevated mortality patterns, particularly for non-Hispanic whites, said study co-author Emma Zang, a Ph.D. candidate at the Sanford School of Public Policy. “That is in addition to the rise among the already much-discussed Baby Boomer generation.”
To study cause of death for Americans born from 1946 to 1992, the researchers used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mortality Multiple Cause Files for the years 1990-2016.
Late Gen X and early Gen Y Americans were aged 25 to 43 during the Great Recession and faced greater difficulty finding jobs, which may have contributed to greater health impacts.
“Social scientists and policymakers are aware of the financial burden for the younger generation, but the elevated mortality rate among them has largely been ignored,” the authors say in a paper that appears in the December issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The study examined death rates in five different age cohorts, comparing men and women, as well as whites, blacks and Hispanics.
“Few studies have looked at Hispanics when considering disparities in mortality,” Zang said.
The researchers examined nine leading causes of death for each age cohort, finding that the underlying causes for increased mortality vary for the different ethnic groups and also between genders in the cohorts and ethnicities.
For Baby Boomers, five causes of death drove the rising mortality rates.
“Drug overdoses, external causes — such as traffic accidents and homicides, suicides, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and HIV/AIDS have contributed to the increase in mortality trends among Baby Boomers across all race, ethnic, and gender groups,” Zang said.
For the late Gen X (born 1973-1980) and early Gen Y (born 1981-1991) age cohorts, leading causes of death vary by ethnicity:
- For Hispanics, overdoses and suicides are the leading causes of death.
- For non-Hispanic whites, both men and women, overdoses and alcohol-related diseases appear to drive increased mortality.
- For non-Hispanic black women, diabetes-related mortality is increasing.
- For non-Hispanic black men, leading causes are cancer, alcohol-related diseases and external causes, such as traffic accidents.
The time period of the study spans the opioid abuse crisis and the Great Recession. Some of the disparities may reflect different access to opioid prescriptions among blacks, whites and Hispanics, Zang said.
Source: Jackie Ogburn – Duke University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “Recent trends in US mortality in early and middle adulthood: racial/ethnic disparities in inter-cohort patterns” by Emma Zang, Hui Zheng, Yang Claire Yang, and Kenneth C Land in International Journal of Epidemiology. Published December 1 2018.
Recent trends in US mortality in early and middle adulthood: racial/ethnic disparities in inter-cohort patterns
A striking increase in the all-cause mortality of US middle-aged non-Hispanic Whites in the past two decades has been documented by previous studies. The inter-cohort patterns in US mortality, as well as their racial/ethnic disparities, are still unclear.
Using official mortality data, we study US annual mortality rates for ages 25–54 from 1990 to 2016 by gender and race/ethnicity. We conduct an age-period-cohort analysis to disentangle the period and cohort forces driving the absolute changes in mortality across cohorts. Nine leading causes of death are also explored to explain the inter-cohort mortality patterns and their racial/ethnic disparities.
We find cohort-specific elevated mortality trends for gender- and race/ethnicity-specific populations. For non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics, Baby Boomers have increased mortality trends compared with other cohorts. For non-Hispanic White females, it is late-Gen Xers and early-Gen Yers for whom the mortality trends are higher than other cohorts. For non-Hispanic White males, the elevated mortality pattern is found for Baby Boomers, late-Gen Xers, and early-Gen Yers. The mortality pattern among Baby Boomers is at least partially driven by mortality related to drug poisoning, suicide, external causes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and HIV/AIDS for all race and gender groups affected. The elevated mortality patterns among late-Gen Xers and early-Gen Yers are at least partially driven by mortality related to drug poisonings and alcohol-related diseases for non-Hispanic Whites. Differential patterns of drug poisoning-related mortality play an important role in the racial/ethnic disparities in these mortality patterns.
We find substantial racial/ethnic disparities in inter-cohort mortality patterns. Our findings also point to the unique challenges faced by younger generations.