Why Did It Take So Long to Notice the White Death?

Why did nobody pay much attention to the White Death before the release of new Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton’s paper on rising mortality among whites in November 2015?

The first time I blogged the word “mortality” in connection to the increasing death rates among the white working class was in 2012:

For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country’s least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990. …

The steepest declines were for white women without a high school diploma, who lost five years of life between 1990 and 2008, said S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead investigator on the study, published last month in Health Affairs. By 2008, life expectancy for black women without a high school diploma had surpassed that of white women of the same education level, the study found.

I don’t see any mention of increased mortality in my February 13, 2012 review of Murray’s Coming Apart in The American Conservative.

I continued to monitor this trend, but worried about selection effects.

Basically, though, I didn’t believe things could be this bad.


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