Study says ignoring Native American data prolongs misleading white ‘death of despair’ narrative

American Indians

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The increase in death rates among middle-aged Americans — largely due to “desperate deaths” from suicide, drug overdoses, and alcoholic liver disease — is generally considered a phenomenon affecting the community. white fellow. According to a popular story, these deaths are often explained as many uneducated white Americans feel disempowered as their economic opportunities decline and their social status declines.

However, a new analysis in Fingertips led by UCLA researchers found that these middle-aged Native Americans (ages 45-54) actually have the highest increased mortality rates in recent decades and currently have the highest mortality rates. twice as many deaths as whites of the same age. Furthermore, Native American communities as a whole have the highest mortality rates from each cause of “death of despair”.

This tragic number is overlooked in mainstream discussions of despair deaths because health policy data on Native American communities is often overlooked, the researchers write in the report. past or incomplete. Fingertips. That includes an influential 2015 study that coined the term and sparked a national conversation about “death of despair,” which went unreported. death data among Native Americans. Many subsequent studies on this topic also did not include data on Native Americans.

“Many people who have read about ‘desperate deaths’ in recent years might easily think that whites have been hit hardest by premature mortality and declining rates. longevitybecause the theory focuses on the ‘uniqueness’ of this phenomenon to white communities,” said corresponding author Joseph Friedman, Ph.D., MPH, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“But a close reading of the data shows that Indigenous individuals have the highest rates of early death and Black and Indigenous communities as a whole are most affected of all the years of available data. It is important that these inequalities are expressed and discussed, rather than hidden, so that we can mobilize resources and work to improve them.”

From 1999 to 2013, the final year of data used in the 2015 study, publicly available death records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show middle-age mortality in humans White Americans rose 8.9%. During this period, the mortality rate among middle-aged Native Americans increased by 29.3%, or more than three times the increase observed in white Americans.

The researchers also went further to examine deaths from despair-related causes in this middle-aged group. In 2013, Native Americans had a 75.9% higher middle age life expectancy. death taller than white Americans. By 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, that gap had increased to 102.6 percent, meaning the Mid-life Native American death rate from dying from related causes to despair is more than twice the rate of white Americans. The gap could be even larger due to known difficulties in collecting data on Native American deaths, the researchers write.

The popular narrative that white working-class people are at greater risk of dying from despair “can only be done by removing data describing Native Americans.” mortality rateThe COVID-19 pandemic, which has devastated Native American communities, highlights the dangerous consequences of policymakers having inaccurate or incomplete data on these communities.

To ensure these communities are not overlooked, the researchers suggest that data collection at the national and state levels specifically list Native Americans, rather than excluding them or labeling them. they are “others”. It is also essential to include Native American leadership in efforts to collect, maintain, and share data, the researchers said, to help build community trust and secure those efforts, the researchers said. This force does not generate data that is potentially inaccurate or discriminatory.

More information:
Helena Hansen et al, Death of Despair and Indigenous Data Genocide, Fingertips (2023). DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(22)02404-7

quote: Ignoring Native American data perpetuates misleading white ‘death of despair’ story, study says (2023, January 26 retrieved Jan. 2023 from death.html

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