White death rates are in the news lately. A blogger named Sendil pointed out that death rates are up for Whites aged 25-34, this in addition to Case and Deaton’s findings on higher death rates for middle aged Whites. Using the same CDC WONDER database that Sendil used I found that all of this increase was due to higher death rates from drugs and alcohol(mostly drugs):
As drug related deaths have risen for Whites in the 25-34 age group they have remained the same for Blacks, with the result that the drug related death rate for Whites is substantially higher than it is for Blacks in the 25-34 age group.
This is true also for the 15-24, 35-44, and 45-54 age groups.
Drug related death rates for Whites are up for all White age groups:
What explains all of this? I don’t think it’s that Whites are taking more illegal drugs than Blacks. Liberals like to claim that Blacks and Whites take drugs at similar rates, this is based on not-all-that-reliable self report surveys. In terms of ER visits for drug use Blacks are, as of 2011, still solidly over-represented(see table 6 of this report). The report lists which drug the individuals were hospitalized for, this follows what you’d expect from racial stereotypes. Are “White” drugs like meth so much worse than “Black” drugs like crack/cocaine? I don’t think so.
I think the most likely explanation is suicide. Whites have long been more likely to commit suicide than Blacks. The data reflects the fact that Whites are more likely to both intentionally commit suicide using drugs and be “pushed over the edge” after taking them.
[[Edit 3/6/2016 Looing in to it further, the real explanation for the higher White death rates is death from opioid prescription drugs]]