A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Clinton on White Middle-Aged Americans


The latest video in our fact-checking collaboration with CNN’s Jake Tapper is on Hillary Clinton’s claim that a recent study showed “white middle-aged Americans without a high school education … are dying earlier than their parents and their grandparents.” But that’s not what the study found.

The Clinton campaign said she was referring to a study written by two Princeton economists, Angus Deaton and Anne Case, and published online Nov. 2 by the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. It’s true that the study found an increased mortality rate from 1999 to 2013 among non-Hispanic white Americans 45 to 54 years old, particularly for those with a high school degree or less. But it made no comparisons with past generations.

“Our study doesn’t establish any of what she says, parents or grandparents, and it is not a question we ask,” Deaton told us in an email. “Given the general decline in mortality [prior to 1999], I’d be surprised if the statement [by Clinton] were true in any reasonable interpretation, especially for the grandparents, and I don’t think the data exist to find out precisely.”

Tapper’s video can be found on CNN’s politics Web page. It is based on our story about the Democratic forum held Nov. 6 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.