This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bloomberg on Death in America

I wouldn't necessarily think about Bloomberg when the topic is death, unless you're talking about the death throes of a company. But, lo and behold, they put together a really nice visualization of death in America--they call it "How Americans Die." It starts out with a classic situation in which the death rate seems odd until you see that it is not age adjusted. Then they get into age cohort data and show you some trends over time that are pretty eye-popping, even for me--remembrances of the impact of AIDS on the mortality of young men, especially blacks. And the rise in suicides and deaths from drugs, which overshadow deaths from gun violence. But then they get to the fact that most deaths do occur at the older ages. However, increasing survival rates to old age increase our risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's. These diseases are problematic because they tend to kill slowly, and the Bloomberg data (I assume from CDC) suggest that in recent years (there are no long-term trend data) the cost of Alzheimer's treatment is one of the big drivers in the cost of Medicare. All-in-all, this is a very good "lecture." Any questions?

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