U.S. Falls Behind Other Developed Nations in Life Expectancy

In a study published Oct. 2, the Washington Post analyzed data from the past 40 years to address the dramatic decline in life expectancy in the United States, compared to other “peer” (developed) nations and even to some poorer nations. While not addressing the collapsing U.S. physical economy and related factors directly, the study does usefully refer to the failing healthcare system, rising poverty and inequality and lack of social and healthcare services to explain why the U.S. has fallen so dramatically behind other “wealthy” countries.

The U.S. “is failing at a fundamental mission — keeping people alive,” the study asserts. After the average life span peaked in 2014 at 78.9 years, it began to drift downward, even before Covid hit. In 2020, it was recorded at 77.4 years, and in 2021, at a shocking 76.4. Although the rate has reportedly “rebounded” more recently, no updated statistics are given, and an actual increase in life expectancy is unlikely given the economic, social and cultural collapse in the country.

“Among wealthy nations, the United States in recent decades went from the middle of the pack to being an outlier, and it continues to fall further and further behind”, the study notes. While pointing to the “extreme death rates” seen in young Americans due to gun violence, the opioid epidemic, etc., it emphasizes that chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, obesity, etc.) are killing many more older people.

The greatest difference in the total number of deaths between the U.S. and peer countries is for those in their 50s and 60s. The U.S. specializes in high-tech interventions for acute illness, but other countries emphasize preventing illness.

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