Everything about Crystal’s life was ordinary, except for her death, begins a story in today’s American Prospect.
“She is one of a demographic—white women who don’t graduate from high school—whose life expectancy has declined dramatically over the past 18 years. These women can now expect to die five years earlier than the generation before them. It is an unheard-of drop for a wealthy country in the age of modern medicine. Throughout history, technological and scientific innovation have put death off longer and longer, but the benefits of those advances have not been shared equally, especially across the race and class divides that characterize 21st–century America. Lack of access to education, medical care, good wages, and healthy food isn’t just leaving the worst-off Americans behind. It’s killing them.
“The journal Health Affairs reported the five-year drop in August. The article’s lead author, Jay Olshansky, who studies human longevity at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a team of researchers looked at death rates for different groups from 1990 to 2008. White men without high-school diplomas had lost three years of life expectancy, but it was the decline for women like Crystal that made the study news. Previous studies had shown that the least-educated whites began dying younger in the 2000s, but only by about a year. Olshansky and his colleagues did something the other studies hadn’t: They isolated high-school dropouts and measured their outcomes instead of lumping them in with high-school graduates who did not go to college.
“The last time researchers found a change of this magnitude, Russian men had lost seven years after the fall of the Soviet Union, when they began drinking more and taking on other risky behaviors. Although women generally outlive men in the U.S., such a large decline in the average age of death, from almost 79 to a little more than 73, suggests that an increasing number of women are dying in their twenties, thirties, and forties. “We actually don’t know the exact reasons why it’s happened,” Olshansky says. “I wish we did.” Continue reading “White women live shorter lives in the south”
Contemporary American politics cannot be understood apart from the North-South divide in the U.S., as I and others have argued, writes Michael Lind in today’s Salon Magazine. “Neither can contemporary American economic debates. The real choice facing America in the 21st century is the same one that faced it in the 19th and 20th centuries — Northernomics or Southernomics?
“Northernomics is the high-road strategy of building a flourishing national economy by means of government-business cooperation and government investment in R&D, infrastructure and education. Continue reading “The other sin of the American South”
This may not shock anyone, but “married” male southerners own guns at higher rates than anyone else.
The odds of a man owning a gun are five times greater than the odds of a woman owning a gun, reports the Gallup organization today, once the influence of other factors related to gun ownership is taken into account.
“Being from the South and being married are the next-most influential predictors; each is associated with 1.7 times greater odds of owning a gun than among those who are not married and among those who do not live in the South.”Given that no “southern” states have endorsed marriage equality, “marriage” means heterosexual.
“Being Hispanic and being from the East are associated with lower gun ownership, but on a relative basis, these are the next strongest predictors of gun ownership, followed by race, ideology, and age. Continue reading “Straight, married southerners most likely to own guns”
Historical memory is a funny thing. It’s always selective.
Take the current raving of the gun crowd for the sacred text of the Second Amendment, adopted in 1791. It turns out that the idea came about to help southern slaveholders keep their human “property” from getting out of line. As Thom Hartman writes today in TroughOut,
“The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says ‘State’ instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too. Continue reading “Second Amendment and “slave patrols””