Life Expectancy

On average, we are all living longer. As has been the case for a long time, women live longer than men. Most of us know that. Some of us know that there is also a gap in life expectancy by race. White people live longer than black people do. Gender dominates, though, as black women live longer than white men. But, as a species, we are all living longer than we used to, with black lives gaining a bit faster (but still strikingly shorter) than white lives. Here’s the data from the CDC:


Note that women outlive men, regardless of race, although white women live longer than black women. Here’s the breakdown as of 2013:

White Female 81.4
Black Female 78.4
White Male 76.7
Black Male 72.3

Elsewhere, of course, the data is mangled:

[S]ocial security is [not] a good deal for black men, who live on average to be 67, just when they can draw social security at the full rate. In effect, since white women live on average to age 82, one can argue that social security is an income transfer from black men to white women.

As you can see, the life expectancy at birth for black men hasn’t been as low as 67 for over 15 years. At 72.3, it’s still remarkably below that of white men, at 76.7, a fact which deserves substantial consideration. But the statement above isn’t just wrong, it’s a lie: their data for white women is current (not the 80 it would have been in the last year it was 67 for black men), meaning they are deliberately comparing out-of-date information with up-to-date information. (Note also that the silly “income transfer” argument would apply as well to men transferring to women.)

Then again, one might expect this kind of mismatch when even a simple metaphor eludes a person:

…when I bring this point up to black men, you should see the light go off in their heads.

The light goes “off?” Something tells me those men are brighter than he thinks.

Author: FirewallNOVA Left

I'm the voice from left of center at FirewallNOVA. Sometimes pretty far left, sometimes pretty close to center. Sometimes maybe not left of center at all. But, mostly, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal or, if not, the crowd on the other side tends to think I am. I can live with that.

5 thoughts on “Life Expectancy”

  1. The other thing is these are averages. For the social security comparison, if one were wont to do that sort of thing, you would have to compare life expectance AT AGE 67 to see if SS was a transfer. In other words, one would have to look at child mortality rates, and early accidental death rates, to see a clear picture.

  2. Agreed. There’s a lot more to proving any such “transfer” than can be mined out of these figures. How much money does each demographic put into the system, what is the life expectancy averaged over the time each demographic is putting money into the system, when does each demographic begin taking money out of the system, and so on.

    Disproving/debunking assertions made on The Bull Elephant is almost becoming embarrassing to me, since it is almost the fact that an assertion is, in fact, made there that most likely indicates it isn’t true. As I was a science student long before I got into politics, it is axiomatic with me that data must be reliable. People like the ones who post garbage at TBE, then start making policy recommendations based on that garbage, couldn’t pass Introduction to Physics at any school I know.

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