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May 10, 2021

High and Rising Working-Age Mortality in the US: A Report From the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • 2Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • 3Department of Family Medicine and Population Health, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond
  • 4Center on Society and Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
  • 5Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 6Center for Health Disparities Solutions, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA. 2021;325(20):2045-2046. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.4073

Life expectancy has increased in the US and in the world for the past century. In 2010, life expectancy plateaued in the US while continuing to increase in other high-income nations. In the US, life expectancy declined for 3 consecutive years (2015-2017) due primarily to an increase in mortality among working-age adults (those aged 25-64 years).1 Although the increase in mortality was first described among White middle-aged adults, mortality is now increasing among young and middle-aged adults and in all racial groups. This increase in premature death, claiming lives during the prime working ages, has important implications for individuals, families, communities, employers, and the nation.

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