Nineteen / Life Expectancy, Inequality, and Post-Pandemic Demographic Shift

Announcement: Starting this month, you will be receiving these weekly newsletters on Fridays instead of Mondays. This shift, as of now, is experimental - to see how it affects my readership with a change of day. Timings, however, are controlled for in this experiment and will remain the same as before, i.e., 11:00 AM IST (or 12:30 AM EST).

This edition examines the decline in life expectancy and its effect on global and regional demographics in the weekly article. Besides, listen to an intriguing podcast on inequality and the rising dissent and explore the idea of a possible post-pandemic demographic shift.

This Week's Article

Is the Life Expectancy Expected to Decline Eventually?

Despite a robust healthcare system, life expectancy in the United States is low compared to other high-income developed countries. Some of the reasons for such a trend are obesity, excessive use of drugs, alcohol consumption, and suicides. 

According to World Development Indicators, reported by the World Bank Group, in 2018, the life expectancy at birth was 78.54 years in the United States, whereas 78.89 years in the North American region and an average of 80.66 years within high-income countries. Using the same database, the life expectancy at birth for males was 76.1 years, and for females was 81.1 years in 2018. Interestingly, one trend that does not change, except in the 19th century, be it a high-income or the least developed country, is that women tend to live more than men

To read the full version, click on the link below. 

Read Article

What are we Listening to?

Inequality and Revolution: Episode 232, Making Sense Podcast by Sam Harris

Making Sense Podcast by Sam Harris is a series of conversations and anecdotes around social, economic, and political issues through a philosophical lens. 

In this episode titled Inequality and Revolution, Jack Goldstone - a sociologist and an expert on revolutions and what causes them, talks about socio-economic inequality and political instability in the United States. The conversation divulges into how capital accumulation by a few leading to income and wealth inequalities has also reduced the pace of social mobility and the standards of living for the masses. He compares early capitalism with modern-day finance-driven capitalism and the rise of cosmopolitanism that comes with rising dissatisfaction among the have-nots. Further, he dives into looking at the same problem with a philosophical, religious, and political lens. 

At one point, it raises the issue of declining life expectancy in the United States, which inspired this week's article. The first 42 minutes are available for free on the website and Apple podcasts, but to listen to the full episode, you need to subscribe. 

For those who prefer listening to Apple podcasts, use this link

What are we Thinking?

Will the World Witness a Post-COVID-19 Demographic Shift?

The study titled Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, lays out the population scenarios in the coming decades, until 2100. While it projects China to peak at a population of 1431·91 million persons in 2024, the estimated projection for the United States stands at 363·75 million persons in 2062. However, with the pandemic and its disruptive nature, fertility rates could decline, whereas the aging population could increase, at least in the high-income countries. The low-and-middle-income countries, on the contrary, will undergo an increase in fertility rates following a reduced childcare burden. Their compound effect could lead to a shift in demographic trends, but only in the short run, as fertility rates will come back to their normal levels post-pandemic. 

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