Article Review on The Changing Landscape of American Life Expectancy

Article Review on The Changing Landscape of American Life Expectancy

In the article, The Changing Landscape of American Life Expectancy, the authors argue that there has been a continuous upsurge in life expectancy in America for the last century because of policy intervention. This continuous growth can be attributed to two broad categories, which have resulted in increased and sustainable life expectancy growth rate. Policy formulation to improve factors that enhance life expectancy as well as the related policies that seek to address those factors that undermine are two indispensable sides of the policy continuum that the article proposes is necessary for the sustenance of the American life expectancy.

The article links these two thrusts to policy interventions. Arguing against a backdrop of technological advances, improvement in social welfare, improved and improving living standards, and income. The authors of the article posit that improved life expectancy is neither accidental nor permanent but a function of policy interventions. Moreover, the article identifies and presents variations in life expectancies, a fact that the authors attribute to race, income, geographical locations, lifestyle, and age[1].

Through policy formulation, factors that improve life expectancy have been developed, improved, and redistributed among the American population resulting in longer life spans. These include technological advances in medicine, water treatment, and sound social welfare policies. Moreover, the second approach has been to reduce and eliminate life-threatening factors that adversely affect life expectancy like epidemics and income disparities[2].

Theoretically, the article is undergirded by a thesis that correlates life expectancy to policy intervention. Positioning life expectancy as the dependent variable, the authors of the article argue that access to policy factors like improved income and living standards, improved access to vaccinations as well as to other medication like antibiotics, enhanced social welfare conditions determine whether one has a longer lifespan or not. A positive correlation between the two sets of variables indicates a better and longer life expectancy.

Through a rigorous interrogation and collation of various data, the authors of the article posit that factors that enhance life expectancy can also be used to predict the same thereby enabling policy makers to establish if there is need for policy recalibration or if the current policy framework suffices[3]. This finding is anchored on the fact that life expectancy can only be calculated on a forward-looking basis[4]

Premising on the above discussion, it appears to that, the authors of the study have achieved what they set out to do from the onset. This was to argue in favour of their thesis that the changing landscape of life expectancy in America is a function of sound and sustained policy formulation and implementation over time. The policies are directed to impact sections of the American society that are deemed to undermine life expectancy like health-related hazards as diseases, substance abuse, sanitation, and hygiene.

Moreover, the article also provides a framework for future research in what can be done to redress the rather stark variations that still exist in life expectancies between blacks and whites, the low-income earners, and the high earners. By reviewing the article from a theoretical, methodical as well as from the objective attainment, it is fair to suggest that the study has attained over and above its main objective of linking American life expectancy to policy intervention. The study goes ahead to offer scholarly recommendations about what policy interventions would offer the best framework for improving and sustaining American life expectancy in the 21st century.



Zchanzenbach, Diane W., Ryan Nunn, and Lauren Bauer. The Changing Landscape of American Life Expectancy. The Hamilton Project, 2016.

[1]   Zchanzenbach, Diane W., Ryan Nunn, and Lauren Bauer, “The changing landscape of American life expectancy”, (The Hamilton Project, 2016), 4.

[2] Ibid., 9

[3] Ibid., 1

[4] Ibid., 2