Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Gap in life expectancy in U.S. growing

  1. Mar 23, 2008 #1
    I especially like this part:
    & lastly, universal health care would probably reverse the trend:
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/23/america/health.php
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So.... life expectancy is increasing across all income groups. Good news!
     
  4. Mar 24, 2008 #3
    Russ, I like your optimism. I don't think it is always justified but someone has to stick up for the bright side.
     
  5. Mar 24, 2008 #4
    Uh huh. Just like you can tell a homeless person that at least he has some cardboard to cover himself with. 100 years ago, he wouldn't have had any cardboard!

    If you wanted to go by "well it's still better than it was before" then I could easily go to your house and enslave you and claim that since I didn't rape your wife, you had it better than 2000 years ago, so it's legal.

    You aren't dealing with absolute numbers here, but relative numbers. Uprisings don't start because everybody is prospering, they start because the rich are getting much richer than the poor. At the expense of the poor.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2008
  6. Mar 24, 2008 #5
    Everything looks brighter under a conservative perspective, that's why they live longer, it's not the money, the environmental factors or access to better healthcare, it's the glass half full attitude. :smile:
     
  7. Mar 24, 2008 #6

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2015 Award

    Since this was about longevity, not salary, are you arguing that the rich are somehow living longer at the expense of the poor? If so, could you explain how that's coming about?

    Also, would you think it would be an improvement to go back to the situation 20 years ago, where both rich and poor lived less long, but the gap was smaller?
     
  8. Mar 24, 2008 #7
    The lack of healthcare for 1/6th of the US population that means they only get treated for life threatening illnesses, crime, poverty, drug abuse amongst the poor. Lack of quality education exacerbating their social problems. If you compare the US life expectancy to Europe, yours is terrible, really terrible.
     
  9. Mar 24, 2008 #8

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2015 Award

    Evidence for this? It's a good story, but it's not what Singh and Siahpush show. If this were the case, there would be a clear separation between the bottom 1/6 and top 5/6, and there isn't. Between the 1st and 2nd decile, you have 24% of the difference between 1st and 10th. Between the 1st and 3rd, you have 31%.

    Mine? What evidence do you have that I am a US Citizen?

    Singh and Siahpush don't discuss Europe, but they do discuss Canada. Canada has a 3.3 year difference in average lifespan between their 1st and 5th quintiles; the equivalent US number is (assuming I calculated this right; the authors don't make such a comparison easy) 3.1.

    You didn't answer my question - would it be better to return to the conditions of 1980's, where there was more lifespan equity, but it was smaller in all groups?
     
  10. Mar 24, 2008 #9
    You haven't been paying attention lately all that evidence is in the WHO report on health care providers. Every part of it. I'll link it if you like? Or you could just find a thread on free health care/universal health care.

    Are you seriously telling me though that the US social mobility is better than in Europe, because you'd be dead wrong. I think the burden on you is to prove that. And why compare to Canada anyway? Who cares? When you have one of the lowest social mobilities in the advanced Western world, why look at the bottom runners.

    I didn't ask the question because it is not the case, in Europe, so there's no point.
     
  11. Mar 24, 2008 #10

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Huh? Should I point out the fallacy of comparing a 2000 year old disparity with a 20 year old disparity, or is that too obvious?
     
  12. Mar 24, 2008 #11

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think this question is worthy of an answer.

    And I'll broaden it: are people so greedy that they would rather be poorer than see someone get richer faster than they? Maybe they are, but is it right to be that greedy?
     
  13. Mar 24, 2008 #12

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, could you give us the comparison, please? I'd like to see just how "terrible" it is.

    Ahh, too easy. Here's a chart: http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa042000b.htm

    It isn't ranked, it is alphabetical, so the easiest comparison is between the US and the UK:

    United Kingdom 77.7 77.2
    United States 77.1 76.1

    That disparity is what you consider "terrible"?

    Considering the obstacle that we've had to overcome to get where we are today (slavery), I'd say we're doing pretty damn good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  14. Mar 24, 2008 #13
    I'd rather be poorer than see people poorer than me being held back by poverty. But then I don't live in the US, so I don't have the same mentality as some people.
     
  15. Mar 24, 2008 #14

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    That doesn't make any sense. Could you explain it further, please?

    It also doesn't answer the question -- though it does imply that you would prefer the poor to have a lower life expectancy and the rich to have a much lower life expectancy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  16. Mar 24, 2008 #15

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I know it's a wik, but I was looking for historical data for other countries and found this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

    We've apparently let an implied claim slide: the implication that European countries do not have such a disparity. It would appear that the "problem" is not unique to the US.

    Here's the actual study for the UK: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publication...ions/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4117696

    Their baseline is only ~8 years, but they note the same "problem" (and they consider it a problem).

    I'll reiterate my previous implied position: the increasing gap is a result of the rubber-band theory of economics (that's my analogy, by the way). By pulling on one end of the rubber band, you pull the entire rubber band. The result is an improvement for everyone, but an increasing gap. This is a natural result of economic prosperity and not something to be "fixed", as attempting to "fix" it will interfere with the prosperity growth for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  17. Mar 24, 2008 #16
    It said the opposite of that. It said I'd like more people to have a life expectancy in line with the best countries in Europe. Not an elite few. But then I pretty much think that is an anathema to you from the gist of your posts so far?

    Europe has higher average life expectancy than in the US, I'm not interested in playing which tiny minority gets to live longer than which other. The US situation is dire IMO.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  18. Mar 24, 2008 #17

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Expanding on the concept of inequality, there is a great video clip somewhere around here of a rogue economist (Sweedish, I think) giving a speech and showing an animation of China's income equality. That's where I got the rubber band idea. It shows graphically and with utter clarity how economic prosperity creates inequality while simultaneously lifting billions out of extreme poverty. Great animation notwithstanding, here's some of the raw data: http://www.gwu.edu/~econ270/Taejoon.html#1. Analyzing the widening gap
     
  19. Mar 24, 2008 #18

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    So you are refusing to answer the question, then? Socioeconomic status doesn't magically just jump from one plateau to another. It has to progress there. What you suggest is pure fantasy.
    You're saying that a gap of 1 year between England and the US is a "dire situation"? Are you for real?

    Wait, what is "dire" about the situation - the gap or the fact that the US's average life expectancy is 1 year less than Englands (for example)?
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  20. Mar 24, 2008 #19
    No I think I'm saying that America is a terrible place to live if you want to experience equality of wealth in any sort of time frame. And that if you want the American dream I'd move to Europe. That's what I'm saying, because social mobility in the US just plain sucks, and your health isn't going to be much better off. And education also just doesn't measure up to European countries, except at University.

    Basically if you want more people to do well, not elitism, then don't look at the US as an example, look at say Japan, or Germany, or somewhere else.

    But this is due to having an almost antithetical view of politics from each other I think.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  21. Mar 24, 2008 #20

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Here is an interesting quick article that points to the homicide rate as being the largest factor in the gap in the US - which is why the gap decreased substantially from 1993 to 2003:
    http://longevity.about.com/od/longevitystatsandnumbers/a/black_white_gap.htm
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Gap in life expectancy in U.S. growing
  1. U.S. Interventions (Replies: 1)

  2. Growing up is hard (Replies: 25)

  3. Democracy gap (Replies: 20)

  4. U.S. & China (Replies: 11)

Loading...