Rush Limbaugh tells us that the drop in poor white women's life expectancy figures in the United States is because they are now working outside the home:
This is the kind of thing which raises my wrath and then causes hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes in far-away places. Because had Limbaugh not been so fucking lazy and gormless he would have read through a few of the studies. Well, probably he is just lying because he knows he can get away with it.
The truth is the other way round:
In May, Jennifer Karas Montez, a social demographer who studies health inequalities, co-authored a study that was the first to investigate how quality of life might be playing a role in the early deaths of female high-school dropouts. Montez found that while smoking accounts for half of the decline in life expectancy among these women, whether or not a woman has a job is equally significant. “Women without a high-school degree have not made inroads in the labor force, especially in post-recession America,” Montez said in an interview. In fact, only one-third of women without a high-school diploma are employed, compared to half of their male counterparts, and nearly three-quarters of better-educated women. When they are employed, Montez said, it is usually in low-wage jobs that offer no benefits or flexibility. Smoking and other destructive behaviors, she added, may just be symptoms of the heightened stress and loneliness experienced by women who don’t graduate from high school.
Bolds are mine. In short, the poor women who are in the labor force do better than the poor women who are not in the labor force.
On the topic itself, i.e., the question why certain groups of women (especially poor, white and uneducated women) seem to experience a drop in life expectancy, read this earlier post and especially the direct quote in this.