Life is like a sporting event. You can be favored by all the experts, you can have all the advantages going into the competition, you can talk trash; but in the end, the only thing that really matters is the final score. And when it comes to final scores, especially the one that matters most, America is losing. “After decades of progress, life expectancy — long regarded as a singular benchmark of a nation’s success — peaked in 2014 at 78.9 years, then drifted downward even before the coronavirus pandemic. Among wealthy nations, the United States in recent decades went from the middle of the pack to being an outlier. And it continues to fall further and further behind.” WaPo (Gift Article): An Epidemic of Chronic Illness Is Killing Us Too Soon. But the years are not being shaved off equally. I’ve repeatedly described the economic divide as America’s everything story. And when I say everything, I mean everything. “America is increasingly a country of haves and have-nots, measured not just by bank accounts and property values but also by vital signs and grave markers. Dying prematurely has become the most telling measure of the nation’s growing inequality.”

+ It doesn’t take a college degree to do this math: No one covers these trends better than Anne Case and Angus Deaton. NYT (Gift Article): Without a College Degree, Life in America Is Staggeringly Shorter. “What the economic statistics obscure in the averages is that there is not one but two Americas — and a clear line demarcating the division is educational attainment. Americans with four-year college degrees are flourishing economically, while those without are struggling. Worse still, as we discovered in new research, the America of those without college degrees has been scarred by death and a staggeringly shorter life span.”

+ Your Life Expectancy is in the Red: The economic divide isn’t the only thing that impacts life expectancy. The political divide is also a factor. WaPo (Gift Article): How Red-State Politics Are Shaving Years Off American Lives. “Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations, among other policies.”

+ It turns out that fighting Disney and drag shows and books and science can take years off your life, literally. And like life expectancy numbers, the politics of ignorance is trending in the wrong direction. Stat News: As conservative views collide with science, doctors find themselves navigating political landmines.