Cardiovascular disease at play in growing rural-urban divide in life expectancy among U.S. counties

Rural town

While life expectancy (LE) in the U.S was was on the rise in the first decade of the 2000s (more so in urban counties than in rural), the last decade showed a drop in LE in rural counties and only modest gains in urban areas. Our Sloan Fellow on Aging and Work Leah Abrams, PhD, is the lead author on a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology that takes…

USA Today reports: What does the recent drop in life expectancy in the U.S. tell us?

Head shot of Jennifer Karas Montez

During the pandemic in 2020, life expectancy in the U.S. suffered the biggest drop since World War II, declining by 1.5 years with Black and Hispanic populations seeing even larger drops. According to former post-doc fellow Jennifer Karas Montez who is interviewed by USA Today, the downward trend in U.S. life expectancy and the increasing social and economic inequalities that were taking place before the pandemic hit must be addressed.…

What is driving the decline in life expectancy in the U.S., and what can be done about it?

Abandoned automobile factory

An op-ed on health policy published in JAMA explains why the healthcare sector can only skim the surface when it comes to addressing the deep structural drivers in declining life expectancy.  The authors —Atheendar S. Venkataramani, MD, PhD, former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Rourke O’Brien, PhD, and Harvard Pop Center faculty member Alexander C. Tsai, MD, PhD —make a strong case for why the U.S. needs to enact bold…

Color-coded life expectancy: People in blue states are living longer than people in red

Map of the United State with Red and Blue States

Our former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, along with our associate director Jason Beckfield, and their colleagues have published a study in The Milbank Quarterly that looks at how changes in state policies since the 1970s have impacted life expectancy in the United States. Read about the study in this release… … on Medical News Today …  on alternet.org … on salon.com … on…

Montez calls for more research on macro-level causes of increased mortality among women in U.S.

Head shot of Jennifer Karas Montez

Former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, is co-author on a Commentary in The Lancet that calls for the next generation of studies on US mortality to focus more on macro-level factors, such as disparities across states’ social, economic, and policy environments, rather than just on the symptoms of higher mortality rates, which include suspect opiod prescribing practices and inadequate drug abuse and overdose treatment programs.

Factoring in where women live could provide critical insight into lagging life expectancy of American women

Head shot of Professor Lisa Berkman

Harvard Pop Center Director Lisa Berkman, PhD, comments in this New York Times piece on the findings of a new study published in SSM – Population Health. Lead author of the study is former Harvard RWJF Health & Society Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD.

Many living longer with more time free from disability, thanks to advancements in cardiovascular & vision health

Harvard Pop Center faculty member David Cutler, PhD, is an author on an NBER working paper that reports that we are not only living longer, but are spending more time free from disability. The findings of the study are covered in this Harvard Gazette piece, and on MedicalXpress. Photo: Daviddje on Flickr

Homicide rate reverses life expectancy gains for men in Mexico

Former Harvard Bell Fellow Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, PhD, is author on a study published in the journal HealthAffairs that has found that the unprecedented increase in homicides in Mexico between 2005 – 2010 resulted in reversing life expectancy gains for men, which had been improving for the prior 60 years. The study received much attention in the press, including a piece on fusion.net and medicaldaily.

Balanced Research Approach Called For to Explain Declining Life Expectancy of Low-Educated Women

Former Harvard RWJF Scholar Jennifer Karas Montez, PhD, and a colleague have written an editorial, published in the American Journal of Public Health, that challenges researchers to apply a balanced approach, incorporating two criteria, to better understand a complex dilemma: why is life expectancy declining among low-income women?

Do differences in social policy underlie an important part of the US health disadvantage?

A paper co-authored by  Ichiro Kawachi, MD, PhD, titled “Why Do Americans Have Shorter Life Expectancy and Worse Health Than Do People in Other High-Income Countries?” published in the Annual Review of Public Health examines whether crucial differences in social policy may play an important role in why US Americans lead shorter and less healthy lives than do people in other high-income countries.