Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living. Show all posts

March 24, 2017

White Americans Are Dying Faster: What’s Killing Them?

In rich countries, death rates are supposed to decline. But in the past decade and a half, middle-aged white Americans have actually been dying faster. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton first pointed out this disturbing trend in a 2015 study that highlighted three “diseases of despair”: drugs, drinking and suicide. 
On Thursday, the pair released a deeper analysis that clears up one of the biggest misconceptions about their earlier research.
The problem of dying whites can’t only be blamed on rising rates of drug overdoses, suicides and chronic alcoholism, they say. More and more, middle-aged white Americans are dying for all kinds of reasons — and the underlying issue may have less to do with opioids and more to do with how society has left behind the working class.
“Ultimately, we see our story as about the collapse of the white, high school educated, working class after its heyday in the 1970s, and the pathologies that accompany that decline,” they write.

On the streets of Chillicothe, Ohio: 'Shooting heroin is like drinking beer'

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Chillicothe, Ohio is grappling with an addiction epidemic driven by opioids like heroin. But some here aren’t letting overdoses rule. (Lee Powell/The Washington Post)
This is slightly different than what they said in their first paper, where they emphasized that the trend of rising white mortality was “largely accounted for by increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis.” That's technically correct — but by focusing only on the increase in death rates, Case and Deaton distracted from the larger picture.
The alarming fact isn't just that middle-aged whites are dying faster, but also that mortality rates have been dramatically declining in nearly every other rich country. The United States is getting left behind.
In the last 15 years, a chasm opened up between middle aged whites in America and citizens of European countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom. While white death rates in America rose slightly, death rates in those other countries continued to plummet. In comparison to what happened in Europe, the situation for American whites starts looks much more dire — and it's a bigger problem than opioids or suicides can explain. It’s not just about what went wrong in America, but what stopped going right. 
Fifteen years ago, middle-aged whites in the United States were neck and neck with their German counterparts. Now, middle-aged white Americans are 45 percent more likely to die than middle-aged Germans.
As Case and Deaton show, the gap in mortality between white middle-aged Americans and middle-aged Germans is about 125 deaths per 100,000 people now. Every year, of 100,000 Germans between the ages of 45 and 54, about 285 die. In the United States, it's more than 410.
Out of those 125 additional American deaths, only about 40 might be explained by the spike in deadly drug use, drinking and suicides. And the rest? It’s hard to say. In their latest paper, Case and Deaton say that heart disease is part of the problem. While other countries have cut down heart disease deaths by over 40 percent in the past 15 years, heart disease remains a significant killer for white middle-aged Americans.
There’s still much left unexplained, but the latest data tell a larger — and more troubling — story. Most of the increase in white deaths is concentrated among those who never finished college. These are the same people who have been pummeled by the economy in recent decades. It’s gotten more difficult for them to find jobs, and what jobs they do come across nowadays don’t pay as well.
Yet, it's not entirely a matter of income either. Some of these same economic trends — driven by globalization and automation — afflicted countries like the U.K. and Germany, where the death rate has been dropping. Besides, according to a Washington Post analysis of recent Census Bureau data, white American men without a college degree still earn 36 percent more than their black counterparts. But the death rate among less-educated black Americans has actually been decreasing. In recent years, the two groups have converged — they are dying at about the same rate — even though white Americans still earn more.
So the theory comes back to despair. Case and Deaton believe that white Americans may be suffering from a lack of hope. The pain in their bodies might reflect a “spiritual” pain caused by “cumulative distress, and the failure of life to turn out as expected.” If they're right, then the problem will be much harder to solve. Politicians can pass laws to keep opioids out of people’s hands or require insurers to cover mental health costs, but they can’t turn back the clock to 1955.

By Jeff Guo

October 8, 2013

Hopefully Marseilles Would Change to The City it Once Was by Curtailing Crime and Constructing Wiser

Schools in the deprived north of the city have reduced the drop-out rate 
Putting poor and sometimes uneducated people in big high apartment buildings does not work. It’s Never work in New York City with “NYCHA” and no reason why it would work anyplace else. In NewYork City Lack of space was one of the reasons about this concept but that is not so in other places. The bunching together of this type of community has to come with certain services for the tenants but for sure colossal structures does not do the trick. It gives the tenants a feeling that they are being trying to be isolated and it reinforces the idea of class warfare. It gives these tenant a feeling of abandonment by the government. If the parents are accepting their kids wont be. Well wishing is not enough but if a little thought was given when this things are being planned and the people architects with governments officials would get impact reports based on experts in the field that study the people in these places they would not be the knife that kills an area or a city. Marseille is too beautiful and important of a city to let it be eaten away by crime and a bad reputation.Adam Gonzalez. Publisher
France's second city, Marseille, has become synonymous with drug-related violence in recent years but local politicians are fighting to change that image.
Between the grey high rises of the northern districts, trains pass every few minutes.
High-speed rail lines dissect these poorer residential areas, passing bridges and tunnels where gangs of young people smoke, talk and risk falling victim to drugs gangs.
It was by the railway tracks that 19-year-old Nabil Badreddine was murdered in March this year, metres from the apartment block where he lived.
His murder was one of 15 in the city this year to date.
From her flat overlooking the spot his mother, Baya Seddik, explains what happened: "They shot him twice in the back. After they'd shot him they poured petrol all over him and set the car on fire."
Nabil was so badly burnt it took days for the police to identify him.
"Because he had been so badly burnt they tested my DNA - and that's how they found out it was him," his mother says.
His killing - still unsolved - was part of a catalogue of crime that has fuelled local contempt for the authorities' inability to stop it.
Murder spike
According to police figures, a third of all the murders in France in 2012 took place in the Marseille region.
Blocks of flats in MarseilleMuch of the violence occurs in the poor northern suburbs
Children in a built-up area of MarseilleParents say young children are vulnerable to the drug gangs
A view of the Tour St Jean in MarseilleThe city fathers want to project a new image of Marseille as a city of culture
Victims are usually in their late teens and twenties. Many of them are thought to have been caught up in organised crime.
Ms Seddik believes her son was innocent. But in a cafe in one of the estates, where a group of men are watching the boxing on TV, one young unemployed man takes a different view.
"When a guy dies it is not for nothing," he says. "Maybe he's the snitch."
The man is a self-confessed drug dealer who claims to know at least 10 people who have been killed.
"It's not the bad guys who are the drug dealers," he says. "We joke with the cops. We sell drugs. We make money. We don't have problems with the neighbours. Everything, it's good."
In spite of a recent spike in the murder rate - there were at least 24 in 2012 and 20 in 2011 - the level of criminality is not as high as it once was.
In the early 1960s, as the war for Algeria's independence ended, hundreds of thousands of French people returned from former colonies in North Africa. Many settled in Marseille where new high-rises were built to accommodate them.
In the ensuing years the city gained a reputation for its vibrant multiculturalism, as well as for its link in the "French Connection", through which gangs trafficked heroin from Turkey to Europe and on to the United States.
'Ghetto feeling'
"The city's geography has a lot to do with its problems," says sociologist Laurent Mucchielli at the University of Aix-Marseille, referring not only to the seaside location, but to social segregation between a poorer north and a richer south.
"The poorer classes traditionally live in the northern districts… meaning that social barriers have been constructed between north and south."
One of the big problems in the northern districts is the school drop-out rate. 
In 2011, one secondary school - College Vallon des Pins - 15% of its pupils failed to reach their final exams.
After a concerted campaign led by its head teacher, Rania Moussaoui, just over 3% of pupils were quitting class before their final exams.
When I ask her why the problem existed, she says there was a lack of opportunities outside school for some children: "Perhaps some of my pupils have the sense that they live in a ghetto because they live alone with their mother? Perhaps she has no driving licence and they can't get around town so easily?
"We try to make the children aware of their surroundings and make sure they have access to a cultural education."
In the run-up to mayoral elections in Marseille next year, opposition parties have taken on the centre-right municipality on issues of social deprivation.
Senator and Socialist mayoral candidate Samia Ghali is campaigning for more extra-curricular activities for children in school to help them avoid falling in with the street gangs.
The far-right National Front (FN) has also seized on the problem and is campaigning hard. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, described the crime wave as gangrenous, telling a party conference last month that it was "the shape of things to come".
Were the anti-immigrant FN to capitalise on the problem in a multi-ethnic city like Marseille it would worry the governing left and the centre-right UMP, which controls the city mayoralty.
Jobs drive
But Laurent Mucchielli says the Socialist French government is finally coming to understand the problem: "They realise it is one of family breakdown, educational failure and unemployment - not one single cause."
He says previous governments have failed to recognise the social factors at root. 
But the city's UMP mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, denies his municipality has failed in its efforts: "When I took over as mayor in 1995, unemployment in this city was 21.6%.
"Today it is at 13%. I have not stopped lowering the rate. My political vision is for everyone to live together as a community."
Outside his grand office by the port, new museums and galleries have opened up - all part of Marseille's year as the European Capital of Culture.
It is all a far cry from the north of the city where all the talk is of a lack of investment and unemployment and where, in the stairwell of Baya Seddik's apartment, there is a pungent smell of urine and cannabis.
"Selling marijuana earns a kid 150 euros [£125; $203] - more than me, more than you," she says.
"No wonder that the street is robbing us of our kids. You can educate them all you want but they can easily fall into dealing or even killing. We're talking about little kids, you know?"
Ms Seddik now campaigns for opportunities for young people in her district.
From her apartment, where pictures of Nabil hang on the wall, you can just make out the sound of the trains heading to and from the beating heart of Marseille.
 BBC News, Marseille

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