Midwesterner on Race, Class, and Longevity

Richard Longworth, writing at the Midwesterner, has an interesting entry entitled Failing Economies Shorten Lives.

He takes a quick look at some of the differences in lifespan among socioeconomic classes, genders, and races.

Genetics may have something to do with it. But not as much as economics and the fallout from economic differences. Poor people get less schooling, which leads to worse jobs, which leads to poorer lifestyles, which leads to stress, which leads to more smoking and drinking, which increases the chances of joblessness, which means no health insurance, all of which adds up to the kind of debilitating despair that never lengthened anyone’s life.

The biggest gap he points out – Native American men in one part of South Dakota versus Asian females in a high-rent district of New Jersey are separated by an average 33 years – with the former living to 58 years and the latter living to 91 years. But that’s maybe a sideshow – there are real and important differences between races and/or socioeconomic classes living side by side; and the expected lifespan for uneducated white people has actually gone down in recent years.


  1. carlito brigante says

    Dog and Saturday Morning Friends,

    Maybe you could call your Satuday morning discurssive space , Dog and Cartoon Adventure Time.

    One thing that I find extremely interesting is the surfeit of comment on gay marriage and the paucity of posts on the effects of poverty, shrinking incomes and health on the quality and length of lives of our neighbors.

    My friend from law school would call gay marriage “a crime against karma.” At the end of the analysis, it does not take money of out people’s pockets and place that money in others, it does not make me drive longer to work or go to bed or get up an hour earlier. But people just don’t like it. It adds another couple of spins to their imaginary second coming clocks. It is just throws one more placeholder into the handbag taking us to hell. It gives more TV preacher and Mike Huckabee fodder to late- night hosts.

    We are massively redistrubting wealth upwards through tax policy. We are cutting ropes out of the safety net. And it is harming the physical lives of people we know and should still share concern for.

    • says

      It’s a bit of bikeshedding going on. Hating on gays is the kind of abstraction you can get all worked up about without having to know much of anything, particularly if you don’t know that you know any gay people.

      Health care policy is not abstract and it’s complicated.

  2. Stuart Swenson says

    Right on, Carlito. Too bad there isn’t some great message center somewhere that reports some boxes “full” on some subjects and “thoughtful contributions needed” on others.

Leave a Reply