Journal Article

The "double jeopardy" of midlife and old age mortality trends in the United States

Abrams, L. R., Myrskylä, M., Mehta, N. K.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120:42, e2308360120 (2023)
Open Access


Since 2010, US life expectancy growth has stagnated. Much research on US mortality has focused on working-age adults given adverse trends in drug overdose deaths, other external causes of death, and cardiometabolic deaths in midlife. We show that the adverse mortality trend at retirement ages (65+ y) has in fact been more consequential to the US life expectancy stagnation since 2010, as well as excess deaths and years of life lost in 2019, than adverse mortality trends at working ages. These results reveal that the United States is experiencing a “double jeopardy” that is driven by both mid-life and older-age mortality trends, but more so by older-age mortality. Understanding and addressing the causes behind the worsening mortality trend in older ages will be essential to returning to the pace of life expectancy improvements that the United States had experienced for decades.

Keywords: USA
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.