Life Expectancy Drops Again in The U.S.

Life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped for the second consecutive year.  This is the first time that this has happened since the early 1960s. Most of the decline is attributable to the diseases of despair, including drug overdoses, suicide, and alcoholism. We reported on this development last year, as well, attributing much of the despair to job losses and little prospect of finding meaningful employment after the age of 45.

The story is worse for men, as our life expectancy declined 0.2 years to 76.1, while the life expectancy for women remained constant at just over 81 years. It is inconceivable to me that a country as wealthy as the U.S., with all of its medical advancements, has a life expectancy that is comparable to Chili and the Czech Republic.  Overall we rank 26th of the 35 OECD nations.

Given these tragic results, I question the logic behind the blanket analysis that suggests deferring the taking of Social Security benefits until age 70. In an analysis that I performed in 2015, taking Social Security payments at 62 versus 70 had those taking the benefit earlier accumulating more payout until one was in their 82nd year. For those deferring the taking of benefits until the age of 66, that breakeven was in one’s 80th year.


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