The White Death: "I Had Not Thought Death Had Undone So Many."
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The purple lines mean whites, blue is blacks, red is Hispanics, green is Others (Asian, American Indian, Pacific Islander, etc.): Screenshot 2017-03-30 23.28.08

Above are statistics professor Andrew Gelman’s new mortality rate graphs for women across the whole country lumping all females of all education level for all causes of death from 1999-2014. Each of the nine graphs represents an age range. Screenshot 2017-03-30 20.24.48

For white women from 25 to 55 (purple lines), mortality rates have been rising steadily throughout the 21st century (except for a temporary plateau among the 35-44s in the mid 2000s, typically women who were in high school during the Reagan era).

How many extra deaths are there per year due to the White Death?

Among women 25-34, the mortality rate appears to have grown from about 60 per 100,000 to 75 over 15 years, or about 15 more dead bodies per year per 100,000 white women aged 25-34.

Assume, for simplicity of calculation that there are 100 million white women overall and they are divided up equally into eight 10-year long cohorts of 12.5 million each. So an increase in 15 dead bodies per year per 100,000 young white women means 15 times 125 = ~1,875 more 25-34 year old white women dying in 2014 than if the mortality rate had stayed the same as in 1999.

(What if mortality rates had declined, as they did for black and Asian women? Well, then you could reasonably, say, double the number of excess annual deaths of young white women to 3,750.)

What about for white women 35-44? It looks roughly as if the mortality rate went up about from 130 to 145, so that would mean another incremental 1,875 deaths.

For white women 45-54, it looks like the mortality rate increased from ~290 to ~320, so that would be about 3,750 more deaths in 2014.

So, the number of incremental deaths among white women 25-54 in 2014 versus 1999 would be about 7,500 per year.

But it would have been perfectly reasonable for the death rate to decline as much per year as it went up, so that is a net difference of 15,000 per year. And of course that’s just white women.

By way of comparison, the worst year of the Vietnam War, 1968 killed 16,899 American personnel. Screenshot 2017-03-30 20.53.37 For women in the 55 to 65 range, the mortality rate only started to rise after women born in the latter part of the Baby Boom entered that group. (I offered a theory about why the White Death affects Americans born after about 1950 more than those born before that date in my recent Taki’s Magazine column “White Privilege or White Death?”

Screenshot 2017-03-30 20.26.28

For older white women in the bottom two graphs (65 or older), mortality rates have fallen steadily, presumably due to ever improving medical care.

When you take into account that mortality rates for all ages should be improving due to better health care and better public health (e.g., fewer airplane crashes), the rising mortality among younger white women is shocking.

And yet almost nobody paid attention to the White Death until late 2015.

Among white men 25-54, the absolute trend isn’t as upward as it is among white women, but the trend relative to Hispanics is alarming:

Screenshot 2017-03-30 23.44.37

Back in 1999, whites had equal or lower death rates than Hispanics in all three age ranges, but by 2014, whites 25-54 had death rates about 25% higher than Hispanics in all three age ranges.


What if white male death rates in 2014 were as low as Hispanic male death rates? Just doing the math in my head, it looks like about 5,000 whites 25-34 would not have died in 2014, about 9500 whites 35-44 would not have died, and about 13,000 whites 45-54. So, if white death rates had declined to the same level as Hispanic death rates declined to, about 27,500 fewer prime-of-life white men would have died in 2014.

So, if white mortality rates were falling like Hispanic mortality rates, over 40,000 fewer whites, age 25-54, would have died in 2014.

As Eliot wrote in The Waste Land:

I had not thought death had undone so many
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