According to the new study, the death rate from 2010 to 2017 for all causes among people ages 25 to 64 increased from 328.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 348.2 deaths per 100,000. It was clear statistically by 2014 that it was not just whites who were affected, but all racial and ethnic groups and that the main causes were drug overdoses, alcohol and suicides.The only states where the death rate actually fell were California and Wyoming.
“The fact that it’s so expansive and involves so many causes of death — it’s saying that there’s something broader going on in our country,” said Ellen R. Meara, a professor of health policy at Dartmouth College. “This no longer limited to middle-aged whites.” . . .
Dr. Woolf said one of the findings showed that the excess deaths were highly concentrated geographically, with fully a third of them in just four states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana.
Statistically this has two components: the rising death toll of suicide and drugs, and a slowing in the decline of the death rate from heart disease, cancer, and vehicle accidents. If the death rate for those causes had continued to fall at the rate we saw from 1950-2000, that might have outweighed the increase in "deaths of despair." But the general medical progress we got used to has been slowed by many changes, including increased obesity, diabetes, and distracted driving.