The growth in death rates among whites identified in late October by Case & Deaton for 45-54 year olds is turning out to be not restricted just to middle-aged whites. This week, Andrew Gelman pointed out that the age adjusted death rate was up 9% from 1999 to 2013 among white women age 35-44 (although down among men of the same age).
But a blog called Economics and Social Commentary by Sendil points out that at least age-unadjusted death rates are up sharply among white 25-34 year olds (lumping both sexes together):
Their publication thus suggests that mortality rates among non-Hispanic whites did not increase for any age group other than the 45-54 age group. However, this is what I found in the CDC WONDER database. Here are is the change in mortality rates per 100,000 people for non-Hispanic whites, among the 25-34 age group:
The relative increase since 1999 is 21%. Yes that’s right, 21%. Quite a lot more than the 8.9% relative increase observed for the age group 45-54, during the same period. Yet no one talks about the sharp increase in mortality rates for this age group. Probably because no one knows about it.
Note that I don’t believe Sendil applied the age-adjustment technique that Gelman devised to account for influence of the Baby Boom ageing through the 45-54 year range. But the size of this white 25-34 year old population is relatively stable from 1999 to 2013, so age adjusting probably wouldn’t have that much of an effect.
I’m guessing that opioid overdoses are the driving force in this very bad news. But clearly this topic needs more investigation.
So it’s mostly drug-related deaths among 25-34 year olds. Although the near-doubling of the alcohol-related deaths in this young age group does not bode well for the future. It’s hard to drink yourself to death by age 34, but less difficult to do it by, say, age 54 if you have a running start at it in your 20s.