Life Expectancy Going Down for Low-SES Groups

Here is why Social Security benefits should only grow and never be cut. Increasing life expectancy is often given as a reason for increasing the SS retirement age, but some groups who really rely on that stingy monthly check have actually been losing ground on life expectancy. Another big chunk of the oft-mentioned increase in life expectancy comes from more babies surviving birth, rather than people living longer.

From Health Affairs:

It has long been known that despite well-documented improvements in longevity for most Americans, alarming disparities persist among racial groups and between the well-educated and those with less education. In this article we update estimates of the impact of race and education on past and present life expectancy, examine trends in disparities from 1990 through 2008, and place observed disparities in the context of a rapidly aging society that is emerging at a time of optimism about the next revolution in longevity. We found that in 2008 US adult men and women with fewer than twelve years of education had life expectancies not much better than those of all adults in the 1950s and 1960s. When race and education are combined, the disparity is even more striking. In 2008 white US men and women with 16 years or more of schooling had life expectancies far greater than black Americans with fewer than 12 years of education—14.2 years more for white men than black men, and 10.3 years more for white women than black women. These gaps have widened over time and have led to at least two “Americas,” if not multiple others, in terms of life expectancy, demarcated by level of education and racial-group membership. The message for policy makers is clear: implement educational enhancements at young, middle, and older ages for people of all races, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today.women with 16 years or more of schooling had life expectancies far greater than black Americans with fewer than 12 years of education—14.2 years more for white men than black men, and 10.3 years more for white women than black women. These gaps have widened over time and have led to at least two “Americas,” if not multiple others, in terms of life expectancy, demarcated by level of education and racial-group membership. The message for policy makers is clear: implement educational enhancements at young, middle, and older ages for people of all races, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today.

Comments

  1. John says:

    Let’s see if I have your facts right – everyone is living longer. Some are living longer than others.

    And this is your reasoning for growing Social Security benefits?

    Yep that makes sense.

    Except for the part that Social Security is not and never was intended to be a retirement plan. It is a safety net for those who need it.

    For that safety net to survive, we need to increase the retirement age, means test for eligibility, and come down with the wrath of a thousand gods on those who make fraudulent claims (spend some time looking at disability claims and you’ll see what I mean).

    I’m open to increasing the income limit too, but not before problems are addressed. Your favorite solution of “throw more money at it” doesn’t work.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      I disagree. It should become more like a retirement plan to make up for the decline of private pensions.

      • John says:

        Your disagreement isn’t valid – you want it to be something else (and that’s fine, we can argue the merits of that as well). But that doesn’t change what it is/isn’t, and it was not designed to be a retirement plan.

        If you want it to be so, then come up with a plan on how to convert it.

        Bear in mind that ‘throw more money at it’ isn’t a plan, all that does is kick the can down the road and we’ve done more than enough of that already.

Speak Your Mind

*

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

89,864 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress