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Some U.S. Mortality Nuggets
Meep on the Beeb (Radio 4 podcast) - and yeah, I still hate period life expectancy
So I appear on a recent BBC 4 audio podcast:
I thought you might be interested in posts/graphs of things I was referring to in my snippets.
I have several posts on drug OD deaths:
April 2017: Mortality Monday: Huge Heroin Death Increases
From the March 2022 post:
At the time, I didn’t have the numbers for the 2021 drug OD deaths, so here is a quick draw from CDC WONDER:
After a 35% increase in the age-adjusted death rate of accidental drug overdoses in 2020, there was an additional 16% increase in 2021.
That’s a cumulative 56.5% increase from 2019 to 2021.
The factoid about gun deaths I mentioned:
“Other” tends to be accidental deaths as well as “legal intervention” (aka cops).
And the geographic footprint of how this differs:
This does relate to one of the other guests’ remarks re: gun rates — you’ll see that it’s pretty much the southeast where gun deaths are not majority suicides.
Out west, there are relatively high gun suicide rates.
I also mentioned that the suicides were more often old men:
Finally, nobody wants to hear from the actuary bitching about period life expectancy, which media loves reporting on.
Well, this is my blog, so I can complain about it here!
Period life expectancy is misleading, as I have written many times before. For example, here is the period life expectancy from birth for females in the U.S. for 1900-1925:
I will let you think as to whether that huge dip was meaningful in terms of how long those females lived - the ones that survived the Spanish flu, that is.
There is period life expectancy, modal age at death, mean age at death, and median age at death within a calendar year and they’re all different. They can be meaningful, but they usually aren’t. Many just have something to do with the demographics of the population.
Period life expectancy does have meaning, just not the one most people think it has. It has nothing to do with how long you can actually expect to live as an individual, unless mortality rates get frozen forever for all ages.
The point of period life expectancy is to compare different mortality levels between different populations. Age-adjusted death rates would do just as well… but media folks wouldn’t feel like they had a “gut feel” for those numbers.
Well, you don’t really have a gut feel for period life expectancy, either.
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