Mortality Change Among Less Educated Americans

The bottom of the educational distribution is doing very very poorly:

Changing mortality rates among less educated Americans are difficult to interpret because the least educated groups (e.g. dropouts) become smaller and more negatively selected over time. New partial identification methods let us calculate mortality changes at constant education percentiles from 1992–2015. We find that middle-age mortality increases among non-Hispanic whites are driven almost entirely by changes in the bottom 10% of the education distribution. Drivers of mortality change differ substantially across groups. Deaths of despair explain a large share of mortality change among young non-Hispanic whites, but a small share among older whites and almost none among non-Hispanic blacks.

That is from Paul Novosad and Charlie Rafkin.


Maybe greed is not so good after all. Maybe we should not be a winner-take-it-all society, where coffee is only for closers. Other countries, such as Brazil, since its economic reforms started to be implemented, has been able to combine high GDP growth with social justice. Maybe we should try to understand what those countries are doing right and do likewise.

This is a classic case of ignorance or intentional misuse of statistical data. While 99.99% of people in all of the groups mentioned have not changed over the years we have detected a 0.01% change that we are going to hype the crap out of in the hopes we can sell books and newspapers.

I think it is obvious that living standards in America, particularly among the working poor, are down from where they were under Nixon and Ford, the federal debt is out of control and the balance of power moves steadily against us while we face a resurgent communist threat in Asia and elsewhere.

"I think it is obvious that living standards in America, particularly among the working poor, are down from where they were under Nixon and Ford"

Really? Measured by square feet of living space per person? Or by the number of restaurant/takeout meals eaten per week? Or maybe measured by ownership of washers, dryers, microwave ovens, color TVs and video players, console game systems, air-conditioners, mobile phones....? On exactly what measures have material living standards declined since the 1970s?

Evidently we now have more trinkets made in Red China (i.e. we fund China's Army, nuclears weapons, political police and concentration camps), but I doubt that the success of a society should be judged by the amount of trinkets its citizens can buy with money they don't have. Other things are much more important.

I was watching a video of a woman and her two kids that have lived in a homeless shelter for the last 6 years. That's right she has lived there for 6 years. It was gut wrenching, she had to get up everyday and leave the shelter taking her two kids to school so they could get free lunch and then she would hang out a local coffee house (I can't afford a $5 coffee but she can) talking with friends on her iPhone (I can't afford an iPhone). When evening came she picked up her kids from free after school "babysitting" where they were served dinner and she goes back to the homeless shelter. Has it ever occurred to her to get a job???

Why would she get a job? Working is hard. You have to get up every day and shoe up on time. You have to do stuff you don't want to do. Maybe you get two 10 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch. Five days a week 8-9 hours each day and you might have to put your phone away all day. What a bummer!

I remember Thomas Sowell saying, "you can have all the homelessness you are willing to pay for".

There's an awful to of coffee in Brazil, Thiago.

I am not Mr. Ribeiro. I am Mr. Jones, from Upstate New York. There is much coffee in Brazil, but there is much coffee -- and many other goods -- in America. Shouldn't we, as Governor Huey Long proposed in the depths of the Great Depression, share our nation's wealth so that everyone has enough and justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream?

On balance, no.

Use every man after his desert and who should ‘scape whipping?

Evidently, I am neither talking about absolute equality nor talking about absolute justice, but we certainly can do a lot better than we have been doing so far.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if America and its Constitution last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

"It is therefore not necessarily surprising that people at a fixed low level of education are less healthy today compared with those at the same level in earlier decades"

This was a choice, and the alternative was called socialism.

(I expect there is a similar but much smaller gap in the Nordic countries, because though they have low achievers, they have a more solid safety net to support them.)

For example, the longevity stats for the bottom decile in educational attainment is much higher in Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba.


So wait, you are saying there are bad examples not to follow? Shocker!

There are no bad examples. Socialism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre! ¡Confisquen las armas! ¡Pueblo sin fronteras!

I hope you are joking.

If you delete "bottom decile . . . " and replace with "14 neighborhoods in Baltimore," you would be a racist.

Socialism doesn't fail. It is a victim of bad luck.

Next time it will work - somewhere.

You know, the people killed at Walmart are now *part* of these statistics.

Shooting occurs.

Democrats: We need #GunControlNow

Republicans: No. 2nd Amendment, NRA, yadda yadda. This is a mental health issue.

Democrats: Ok… well here are healthcare policies that would guarantee Americans access to mental healthcare.

Republicans: NO! That’s socialism!

Harsh, but fair.

Jeez, I came here first. I hadn't even heard about Dayton.

But let's keep the discussion of death abstract and statistical, right people?

Let's Employ These Tragedies As Democrat Campaign Events For the 8,000,000th Time.

PS: It wasn't me. I was in NY.

Watch this video.

I know, "he was only joking" and "his supporters were only laughing."

The GOP must be fully abandoned. That is the only answer at this point.

Remember, I’m a moderate Republican.

So you need to take me super serial guys. It gives me credibility on the internet. So to quote a leading candidate for the Democrat nominee for president,

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

¡Confisquen las armas!

There has not been a mass shooting in CT or NY since they passed legislation to confiscate assault rifles in January 2013, after Sandy Hook.

Of course, only about 3% of CT and NY assault rifles turned in themselves.

There have never been any mass shootings in Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, USSR...

I am an *ex* Republican independent who is feeling really good about that decision.

(Made in response to the Downing Street Memos)

The Downing Street Memos?


A critical juncture. When "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" the GOP divorced itself, even then, from a belief that truth should come first in a democracy.

Downhill since. Now we have bald face lies as policy.

"Fixed around"

Of all the mistakes in the disaster of the Iraq War, your lack of understanding regarding the Queen's English is the most absurd.

But that's on brand, right? Your lack of reading comprehension leads you to ridiculous conclusions.

On brand. I love it.

You are hitting me with known dysinfo.

Given your other posts today, that's not surprising. Deplorable, but not surprising.

I'm sorry you rely on RANTT media twitter feeds.

You're still wrong

But who cares about the facts now? At least you can call me, a Trump opponent, deplorable.

I'm so old. IO remember when Barack Hussein Obama said, ‘If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.’

Who wants to bet how long until someone brings an semi- automatic rifle and some high cap magazines to an Antifa event? Antifa brings knives a bike locks on socks and Anti-Antifa brings the Obamian gun.

I bet it happens within one year.

Of course it is also your responsibility, with allowing and encouraging gun ownership. Some of the guns will end up with loonies; that’s the cost of protection against tyranny aintiright?

More crazy talk.

I own a mid-sized SUV. That type vehicle is involved in hundreds of traffic deaths a year. Ergo, I am responsible for the traffic deaths.

"I see!" said the blind man.

I bet you also think Obama was the greatest president evah.

Owning a gun, or car, is not the problem. Advocating gun and car ownership is.

Thanks for the clarification.

I think people should not be able to posses, touch or even think about guns.

However, I will keep mine, because I like those odds.

The function of your SUV is transportation. Traffic accidents are a corollary, albeit an unfortunate one. The function of an assault rifle is to shoot people, nothing else.

Correct. Sometimes it is necessary to shoot someone, and for that you need a gun, and ammo, lots of ammo.

Think King Phillip's War, the Seven Years War, Lexington and Concord, Saratoga, 1812, Civil War, etc ...

do have any emperical evidence
suggesting mass shooters did not have access to mental health care?

+1. And exactly how are you going to force people into treatment before they start murdering people, which is about what is required for involuntary treatment (thanks to the ACLU)?

Well if RANTT Media said it, it must be true right? These are some truth telling heavyweights and investigative journalists!

The founder is a lead singer of a band named Porn on Beta.

The other founder is a Canadian horror novel writer.

The other....wait the entire 'media organization is two cranks releasing nonsense on youtube.

At least this part is interesting:

"KULT (Kennedy's Uber Leet Terrorists) was an organization spawned by Kennedy's anti-establishment rants, described as an ungoverned network of "digital-wet-wired-cyber masons with shovels" who recognize "the dark cyber-world that is coming." As of September 2000, more than 1,000 new visitors logged on to the KULT website each day. Members were divided into "klans" and one went so far as to receive a tattoo of the KULT symbol on his chest.[8] The group was disbanded among great controversy in 2001, remnants of the membership regrouped into several splinter sites, all of which subsequently dissolved by the early 2010s. "

10 dollars to 1 anonymous has KULT tattooed on his chest.

"The other founder is a Canadian horror novel writer."


I'm not going to bother with the 101 bad answers to these tragedies, because we know in our hearts that they are bad answers.

Every "do nothing" and "nobody to blame" or "doesn't count" or "nothing we can do" is a bad answer.

Basing your worldview on “Rantt media” twitter feed is an even worse answer.

Do nothing - Texas has the death penalty, right? Ohio? Execute the shooters.

Doesn't count - Video Games; Mass Movement Away From Religion; Amoral Popular Culture; Universal Deceit; Culture of Death - 73,000,000 murdered gestational humans since Roe v. Wade.

Nobody to Blame - Blame the shooters.

Nothing We Can Do - See above. Get a gun. Carry it. Know how to use it. Carry a small first aid kit, at minimum a tourniquet - know how to use it. Be prepared. Plan. Practice. We can pray that Trump is re-elected.

The shooters manifesto includes “send them back” and “fake news”.

But yeah, try out "video games."

This guy was inspired by Black Lives Matter and Obama's anti police rhetoric.

How about that for whataboutism?

Texas promotes open carry.

The mass murderer walk calmly into a sea of Texans carrying guns, without fear. No Texan shoot back.

The police arrested him without firing a shot.

Too bad he was armed - then the police would have shot him att least 17 times.

At least the police did not kill a dozen Texans legally openly carrying guns to protect the public, as police have done in a few other mall shooting cases.

+1 postmodern sociology narrative
you sed "The mass murderer walk calmly into a sea of Texans carrying guns, without fear. No Texan shoot back."
It has been reported that the walmart was a "gun free zone"

"We find that ...mortality increases are driven... by... the education distribution"


a finding that education directly drives mortality ??

that's an extremely broad conclusion, unsupported by these researchers' very sparse and noisy data

guess how many variables affect human mortality other than education-distribution...

Seriously. How about we count number of tattoos and then conclude that higher numbers are associated with mortality?

How about we look at the association of mortality with trailer park residence? With number of times you shop at Walmart?

The sheer volume of crap research promoted on this blog is incredible.


They like any data that reinforces their preconceptions.

The work by Anne Case and Angus Deaton is more nuanced.

Members of the high deciles and quintiles of the educational distribution are doing very very very poorly when 1) other members of their elite class permit thousands of Americans to die from opioid dosage complications over almost an decade without any significant pause or interruption or 2) when pedagogical mystifications emerging from Ivy League "schools of education" succeed in obscuring basic literacy instruction in order to yield an American adult population some third of whose members are woefully sub-literate or functionally illiterate.

From the paper
-so a lottta more men go college in 2015 but a lotta more men completed a degree in 1992 than in 2015

Yes this is the correct approach, use actual cohorts not defined segments according to education qualifications. I made this comment on the previous thread but for some reason the thread was deleted and then reposted.

This is a segment of the labor force heavily affected by economic competition arising from uncontrolled immigration.

Not immigration do much as offshoring

A person needs a reason to get up in the morning whether they have a degree or not.

Maybe the welfare structure also needs to be changed. Instead of rewarding low grades by giving more money, more schooling should be incentivized.

It seems to me the same affliction(s) that has been visited on the Native American and African-American communities is now being felt in that community.

And substituting different drugs and counseling for opioids isn’t a big change.

As I have long maintained, the majority of impact from anything happens far from both the mean and the median. Far too much of our policies look at the impact on the average.

Reduce prices of alcohol? Well on average drinking goes up by some small amount and everyone has more disposable income. Legalize marijuana? The needle moves not that much in terms of raw consumption figures. Normalize premarital sex? Ehh the lifetime number of partners doesn't change that much.

Yet for each of these there have been significant mortality impacts. Yeah most of the alcohol deaths are concentrated in the AUD population and they all choose to drink to excess. But it was predictable that they would make these choices. Our alcohol policy for the last decade or two has basically ignored the impact of further normalization, stagnant tax values, and increased availability has had on the heavy drinking segment. This kills people.

Similarly data coming out from legalization states shows that the heaviest users (e.g. measuring their consumption in kilos) have been showing up in large increases in intoxicated driving and deaths. We also are seeing that heavy use has some troubling psychiatric effects, particularly in the young.

And of course there was the free love option. Most Americans did not have enough sex with people who were having enough sex to catch HIV, yet at the extreme we had a dramatic rise in the number of insanely high partner counts.

It is not surprising to me, at all, that the vast majority of the effects concentrate into a small minority. It is always thus. Unfortunately we are legislated by people who ignore this.

"Most Americans did not have enough sex with people who were having enough sex to catch HIV, yet at the extreme we had a dramatic rise in the number of insanely high partner counts."

You need to know how HIV spreads and why it never broke out into the heterosexual population.

never broke into the hetero population? Really? tell that to the majority of persons with HIV on the African continent that are heterosexuals. And Haiti's majority with HIV are hetero.

As noted above, largely because the heterosexual population does not have as many partners, its partners had fewer partners, and it has far fewer concurrent partners.

CDC places risk of transmission for receptive anal intercourse at 138/100K. This around one order of magnitude higher than for receptive vaginal intercourse or insertive anal intercourse. Insertive vaginal intercourse is about half of receptive vaginal's transmission rates. Oral sex and fomite transfer are possible but rare enough to be difficult to measure.

As noted HIV spread quite easily in certain African societies. This is almost certainly driven by sexual practices (e.g. Muslim populations had lower HIV spread and populations with sizeable Muslim minority populations also slowed HIV spread). Africa was most notably different from the West, it had a fatter tail in the sexual partners curve (e.g. more prostitutes), it had much higher rates of concurrent sexual partners, and it had lower rates of anal intercourse.

Anal intercourse drastically reduces the connectivity of a sexual relations network needed to sustain an HIV epidemic. But it does not reduce that number to zero. Concurrency and high numbers of partners are much more deadly that transmissivity per act. If women had adopted bathhouse culture, we almost certainly would have seen a heterosexual epidemic. If gay culture had been strictly monogamous we likely would have seen minimal sustained transmission.

So yes, again, those in those in the fat tail, like prostitutes, do end up catching HIV unless they use condoms or the like.

Shockingly culture matters and the 20% or so of Americans who have exactly one lifetime partner (or 0) very rarely ever caught HIV. Those who had 2 - 6 partners also rarely caught HIV. Only when you got out to the far end of the distribution did people actually catch HIV.

Unfortunately for Africa, on the global scale, they are the fat tail.

Arguments for more easy / laissez-faire policies are often made on the basis of positive effects at the tails as well (sometimes opposite tails).

Less "repressed" sexual policies can be believed to in theory help people at the margin realize a sexual relationship and gain mental health benefits. Cheaper alcohol helps small minorities of people at risk of poverty in another tail. Not prohibiting drugs helps small minorities of people at risk of being criminalized. And so on.

May not work out in practice (and the theory may be badly wrong), but worth noting that the logic of social laissez-faire on drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. is not only based on accruing benefits to the "sensible" mid range user and "let the devil take the hindmost", but to argued benefits to small minorities at the margins at risk of poverty, stigmatization, criminalization, etc. There are hard tradeoffs, or ones that are at least hard to estimate. (Fortunately, also some easier tradeoffs, like doctors not doling out opioids like they're M&Ms).

Deaths of despair? What going on with these people?

"Deaths of despair explain a large share of mortality change among young non-Hispanic whites, but a small share among older whites and almost none among non-Hispanic blacks."

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