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Fenelon on life expectancy decline

The rise in drug overdoses and suicides is not the only factor that contributed to an "extraordinary" small three-year decline in American life expectancy rates

Tom Kertscher writing for Politifact examines on presidential candidate Andrew Yang's repeated statement, "America’s life expectancy has declined for the last three years in a row, the first time in a hundred years, because of surges in suicides and drug overdoses." He finds it mostly true but gets some context from Faculty Associate Andrew Fenelon, who thinks the statement goes too far : "Identifying a ‘cause’ of a very small decline in life expectancy is hard, because many causes of death for which there were increases in mortality could, in essence, be said to be the reason for the decline,” he told Politifact. But he agreed that the numbers reported by CDC in 2017 were extraordinary. “We are simply not used to seeing, on a national scale, declines in life expectancy, especially not ones lasting more than one year. It is a major crisis. And not only are we failing to improve life expectancy in an absolute sense, as we have done for the past hundred years, but we’re also falling farther behind the rest of the high-income world” Fenelon said.

See the complete Politifact article


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