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White Middle-Aged Americans See Mortality Increase, Deaton Finds

  • Nobel Prize in economics winner finds U.S.-specific reversal
  • Suicide, drug use and liver issues to blame for death increase

Middle-aged, non-Hispanic white Americans saw a "marked increase" in mortality between 1999 and 2013, a reversal from a decades-long decline that can be largely explained by a spike in suicide, substance abuse and liver disease, new research shows.

"No other rich country saw a similar turnaround," Angus Deaton, the Princeton University professor who won this year’s Nobel Prize in economics, and co-author Anne Case write in a study dated Sept. 17. "Although all education groups saw increases in mortality from suicide and poisonings, and an overall increase in external cause mortality, those with less education saw the most marked increases."