Researchers from Leyden Academy on Vitality and Aging in the Netherlands published new research in the Oct. 7, 2013, edition of the British Medical Journal that indicates death rates for middle-aged and elderly people increase when a nation’s economy is booming.
The researchers based their conclusions on a comparison of the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 19 developed countries in Europe, Scandinavia, North America, and Australia between 1950 and 2008 with the numbers of deaths among people 40 to 44 years old and 70 to 74 years old over the same period.
Death rates increased for both middle-aged and elderly people during each period of economic expansion and fell during periods of economic recession in all countries studied in the analysis.
On average, for every one percentage point increase in GDP, death rates rose by 0.36 percent among people 70 to 74 years old, and by 0.38 percent among people between 40 to 44 years old.
The effect on women of the same age was similar but about one third the rate of men for both age groups.
Job stress and automobile accidents are proposed as the causes of middle-aged death increases and pollution was considered a factor in the increased rate of death in the elderly. Pollution increases as manufacturing increases during economic expansions.
Sadly, these facts may be the only hope young people have for a decent standard of living if and only if the economy continues to grow and the death rates continue to increase.