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Midlife Death Rates Among Racial & Ethnic Groups

BMJ; ePub 2018 Aug 15; Woolf, Chapman, et al

Midlife mortality rates in the US are increasing across racial-ethnic populations for a variety of conditions, offsetting years of progress in lowering mortality rates. This according to a systematic analysis of vital statistics that compared midlife mortality patterns in the US across racial and ethnic groups during 1999-2016. US adults aged 25 to 64 years were included in the analysis. Among the findings:

  • Midlife mortality rates in the US are increasing not only among non-Hispanic whites but also among Hispanics and non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaskan Natives, blacks, and Asians and Pacific Islanders.
  • Drug overdoses were the leading cause of increased mortality in midlife in each population.
  • Mortality also increased for alcohol-related conditions, suicides, and organ diseases involving multiple body systems.
  • The relative increase in US midlife mortality differed by sex and geography.


Woolf SH, Chapman DA, Buchanich JM, Bobby KJ, Zimmerman EB, Blackburn SM. Changes in midlife death rates across racial and ethnic groups in the United States: Systematic analysis of vital statistics. [Published online ahead of print August 15, 2018]. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.k3096.