Deaths of Despair

Are Middle-Agers Giving Up?

A Brookings Institute study by Anne Case and Angus Deaton described an increase in "deaths of despair," or deaths caused by suicide, drug addiction, alcohol poisoning, and liver disease. Their two reports, published in 2015 and 2017, pointed to an increase in mortality rates among white Americans, particularly those with a high school degree or less. This was particularly evident among middle-aged Americans aged 45-54. In other countries and other demographics, the average mortality rate is decreasing.1

These studies have garnered some criticism.2 However, when assessed in tandem with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on overdose deaths...


has an M.S. in chemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.A. in bioethics from Trinity International University. She resides in Dallas and currently works as a freelance science writer and educator.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #42, Fall 2017 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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