With stagnant wages, rising cost of living (see shelter inflation), and a lack of savings, Americans are retiring later than ever before (if at all). But in a double-whammy for seniors, whose health is declining, their lifespans are shrinking offering them little if any time to enjoy the end of the American Dream walking hand in hand into the sunset on a faraway beach…
As Bloomberg reports, data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed.
Here are the stats:
The U.S. age-adjusted mortality rate – a measure of the number of deaths per year – rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Society of Actuaries.
That’s the first year-over-year increase since 2005, and only the second rise greater than 1 percent since 1980.
At the same time that Americans’ life expectancy is stalling, public policy and career tracks mean millions of U.S. workers are waiting longer to call it quits.
Almost one in three Americans age 65 to 69 is still working, along with almost one in five in their early 70s.
And finally, Americans in their late 50s already have more serious health problems than people at the same ages did 10 to 15 years ago, according to the journal Health Affairs.
Bloomberg’s Ben Steverman points out that researchers have offered many theories for why Americans’ health is getting worse. Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, a Nobel Prize winner, have argued that an epidemic of suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol abuse have caused a spike in death rates among middle-age whites.
Higher rates of obesity may also be taking their toll. And Americans may have already seen most of the benefits from previous positive developments that cut the death rate, such as a decline in smoking and medical advances like statins that fight cardiovascular disease.
So there you have it – The New American Dream: Work Longer, Live Sicker, Die Sooner…