Economist Larry Summers calls the fact that one in 25 dies before the age of 40 “the most disturbing set of data on America I have encountered in a long time,” Fortune reports.
“This transcends politics,” Summers, former Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration, tweeted.
Summers was referring to a Financial Times analysis that found a drop in life expectancy in the U.S. in 2021 due to external causes — including drug overdoses, gun violence and dangerous driving.
The mortality record in the U.S. is the worst among developed nations, according to FT.
Summers highlighted two data points in particular, the first being that one in 25 five-year-olds in the U.S. will die before their 40th birthday. The second is that 75-year-olds have the same chance of surviving to the average age in their country as in other developed nations.
The data shows that the higher-than-average mortality rate in the U.S. is more pronounced among the young.
Summers, who was also chief economist of the World Bank, said the high mortality rate among young Americans “is especially scary remembering that demographics were the best early warning on the collapse of the USSR.”
Both death and birth rates began to increase in Russia in the 1960s, spiking after the USSR’s collapse in 1991. From that point forward, Russian deaths outpaced births.
Working-age Russian males have been the most prone to early death, due to alcohol, violence and other unnatural causes.
The population of Russia peaked at 148.6 million in 1994 and was last estimated at 147 million in 2021, according to census data.
Other nations, including Japan and China, are worried about supporting their elderly populations due to a decline in birth rates.
In 2021, there were 331.9 million people living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2022, the U.S. population grew just 0.4%, better than in 2021 but worse than every other year of the past hundred years.
In 2020, before the COVID pandemic, data showed the U.S. population growth was slowing, approaching zero, and even reversing in half of all the states.
As to drug-related deaths, more than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That translates to roughly one U.S. overdose death every 5 minutes. It marked a 15% increase from the previous record set the year before.
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