Main content

What's Killing White American Women?

The mysterious case of rising death rates in the world's richest country.

The rich world has got used to health and longevity getting better, and death rates falling – for everyone. But over the past few years data has been accumulating which suggests that this trend has stopped for poorly educated, white Americans. And for one group in particular - middle-aged women – death rates are going up. It’s a shocking finding, meaning many will die at a younger age than their mothers. What’s happening? Certainly, life is tough for many low-income American families. “What the data look like,” says the economist Paul Krugman, “is a society gripped by despair, with a surge of unhealthy behaviours and an epidemic of drugs.” Is he right? Are the conditions of working class life in America killing white women?

Presenter: James Fletcher

(Image: A cemetery in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Credit: Getty Images)

Available now

23 minutes

Last on

Sun 15 May 2016 04:06GMT

Broadcasts

Featured in...

North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions

North Korea's Nuclear Ambitions

A spotlight on how North Korea developed its nuclear weapons and its plans for them

The Best of The Inquiry

The Best of The Inquiry

Of 100 episodes made over 2 years, these are our favourite 12 programmes

The Inquiry Podcast

The Inquiry Podcast

Download every programme.

Podcast