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.