For the third year in a row, life expectancy in America didn’t improve. Thanks to suicides and overdoses, as well as the usual list of maladies, life expectancy for Americans dropped to 78.6 years. Opioids are a key culprit, with a 45% increase in deaths in one year. Suicide has become the second most common cause of death for young people (10-34). Both crises are familiar and are part of the common debate, but there isn’t a consensus on how to approach the issue. Within the life expectancy data are also distinctions between men and women, rich and poor (10 years for women, 14 years for men), races and cultures, and even regions (20 year difference). One number has to suffice, but those variations of several years and decades prove that there’s great diversity, some within an individual’s control, some not. Collectively, the trends are not favorable.
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