The white working class mortality rate continues to rise as the economy becomes increasingly hopeless for them.
If white working class mortality is increasing for those without a college degree, I don’t think the white middle class can be to far behind. The presenting factors are opioid use, alcoholism, and suicide—but behind all those factors is a declining economy. It is too soon to see if the Trump era alters the trend lines.
Dr. Deaton suggested that the country’s white community split into two camps: white Americans with bachelor’s degrees continue to thrive, while American whites without a bachelor’s degree face increasingly dire circumstances.
Dr. Case explained that America’s white working class continues to face higher mortality rates through suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism.
Case told the Wall Street Journal:
“I think there are several answers to that. Mortality rates for suicide, for drug overdose, for alcoholism are rising for people without a college degree. Those are the big increases that we’re seeing, and it isn’t just about the financial crisis. This started back as far as we can break out education in death certificates, which is 1990. It has been a slow, steady trend up in all three of those for people without a B.A.”
In fact, the trend was noticed a year ago:
And here’s a story from two years ago:
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