The Shortening American Lifespan

eAlert ecf6a4ee-2e6d-4c3a-8d83-fbfc3ce5e06f

<p>Federal data released last month showed that Americans’ life expectancy fell between 2014 and 2015, from 78.9 years to 78.8 years. Though this may sound like a trivial change, declines in life expectancy are rare in the developed world, outside of periods of war or national crisis. </p><p>In a new <em>To the Point </em>post, The Commonwealth Fund’s David Squires explains that much of the attention given to this trend has focused on rising rates of drug overdoses, suicide, and alcohol-related deaths. But these factors alone do not explain our declining life expectancy, Squires says. The data show that increasing “deaths by despair” have coincided with troubling mortality trends for a wide variety of conditions, including heart disease, particularly among working-age whites. </p> Get the whole story