Life expectancy improves during recession

Turns out, millennials don’t need healthcare, Medicaid or Social Security after all. They are going to live forever. Or longer than average, at least.

Life expectancy goes up noticeably during recessions, according to a few new studies. One might think the risk of death rises as stress levels and general unhappiness rocket upward when you are without a job and unable to pay your bills. But, the numbers don’t lie.

According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. age-adjusted death rate declined 2% from 2007 to 2010, so life expectancy rose from 78.9 years in 2010 from 77.9 years in 2007. During the preceeding three years and in a stronger economy, life expectancy rose by half that.

As Peter Orzag of Bloomberg points out that in states where the economy was worse — such as Michigan and Illinois — the death rate declined at an even steeper rate, showing a rise in longevity. Whereas in states with less job loss — like North Dakota or Iowa — death rates rose. Seriously? 

A similar phenomenon occurred during the Great Depression. A study conducted by researchers Jose Tapia Granados and Ana Diez Roux concludes

“The evolution of population health during 1920–1940 con?rms the counterintuitive hypothesis that, as in other historical periods and market economies, population health tends to evolve better during recessions than in expansions.” 

During recessions there are fewer traffic accidents, presumably because there are fewer people driving to work and going out to buy things. There are also fewer heart attacks because people tend to smoke and drink less (those things are expensive), while eating healthier, as well. Plus, there’s a lot less smog because those people stay home instead of taking their gas-guzzling cars out on the town.

So, don’t get a job. It will put you in an early grave. 

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