The Life Expectancy Gap


Wealthier Americans are gaining in life expectancy whereas this figure is decreasing for poor Americans.

Some articles and media have reported that this gap is narrowing…. (One article below describes a widening gap).

But I trust my uncle more. We had a kitchen-table conversation about it here in Maryland. He cannot seem to retire as an economist, and he just wrote an empirical paper about this topic. (He had been a Senior Fellow at Brookings Institute for 40 years, but he still rides the subway into DC three times a week (not paid, just for fun). Who goes to work for fun? After formally retiring? He does.

There has always existed a gap, but this gap is now widening – and it is about to widen dramatically. High-tech life extension measures will be available for those who can afford them.

In contrast, poor Americans are dying earlier and earlier. The principle causes seem to be 1) drug overdoses, principally meth and heroin; 2) a junk-food diet that is even worse than the previous generation, and a lower inclination to exercise thanks to the smart phone; and 3) stress and economic marginalization.

Of these factors, drugs seems to be the one accounting for the recent spike in youth mortality. And the studies predicting a narrowing of the disparity were probably based on 10-year old data…

Again, we are witnessing a growing divergence between the elite and the commoner – a neo-feudal configuration that, this time around, will have physical and biological repercussions.

Interestingly, among poorer Americans even average height is dropping. The average height for men in the US fell below the European average height just a few short (no pun intended) years ago. Mostly because our diet is shit.

Did not Brave New World predict all this? A caste system in full.

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