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Is young adult excess mortality a natural phenomenon?

Population and Societies

590, June 2021

The risk of death is high at birth and during the first years of life, but it decreases through childhood to a minimum at around 10 years. It then begins a steady increase throughout adult life. Young adults, however, are often an exception, with higher than expected mortality, as Adrien Remund, Carlo Giovanni Camarda, and Tim Riffe explain. Is this natural in humans, or are there other factors involved?

A temporary increase in the risk of dying during adolescence and early adulthood has been observed in many populations, but no clear explanation for the phenomenon has yet been found. Several recent studies have shed new light on the question, revealing that this excess  mortality is not historically universal, tends to mainly affect males, and is largely attributable to violent and accidental deaths.

  • Adrien Remund

Carlo Giovanni Camarda

  • Tim Riffe

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