Saturday, March 7, 2020

Death-rates due to alcohol, drugs and suicide in the United States

I saw this graphic over at Defense and Freedom blog. It was originally from the New York Times.

Looking at the horizontal axis, it looked like it stopped about 2015. I wondered what more recent data looked like. Secondarily, I was curious to see if I could replicate the numbers.

Raw death-rate per 100k due to alcohol, drugs and suicide. Data from HERE
These are mortality rates for white adults aggregated into bins of five years. They are not separated out by college/non-college graduate.

Since 65% of adults are NOT college graduates, the numbers reported by the authors look inflated. 0.65*144+.35*40 = 107 while the highest number for 2016 is 91.5.

A close reading of the text reveals that the authors looked at non-Hispanic whites. I wonder if that would make any difference.

One place where our data disagrees is that the data I pulled shows the 50s as being the riskiest place for death by alcohol, drugs and suicide while the authors of the NYT piece show the early thirties as being the riskiest.

I was curious about the break-out between suicide and death by alcohol and drugs.

Clearly, death due to alcohol and drugs dominates the category and has increased since 2012.

If you look at the non-bachelors data long enough you start to see a couple of things. One is that it looks bi-modal. One peak is in the early 30s and the other centers around fifty. You will also notice a diagonal streak as the cohort born around 1953 ages.

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