SALT LAKE CITY – The life expectancy of white, female high school dropouts has dropped markedly in the past 20 years, according to researchers in population, human longevity and public health.
Poor, undereducated white American women now can expect to die five years earlier than the generation before them.
In <a href=”http://prospect.org/article/whats-killing-poor-white-women” target=”parent”>an eye-opening article in The American Prospect called “What’s Killing Poor White Women?”</a> Monica Potts pulled together the research that has social scientists scrambling to find answers.
“One of the researchers I talked to said that he believes that the root cause was this dramatic increase in the amount of economic and other stressers that that population faces,” she said.
Obesity, diabetes, dead-end jobs, low wages, alcohol, drugs such as OxyContin and meth, and bad marriage partners all are being suggested as stress factors.
Potts said there are no simple remedies for whatever it is that’s contributing to the decrease in longevity.
“You need many, many interventions,” she said. “There are just always going to be people who struggle a lot. And I think that perhaps what’s happened is that the world has become maybe even less able to ‘catch’ those people than they were before.”
Studies show that high school dropouts have been affected more than most by the recent proliferation of low-wage, dead-end jobs.
The article is online at <a href=”http://prospect.org/article/whats-killing-poor-white-women” target=”parent”>prospect.org</a>.