Mortality rate is on the rise among non-Hispanic white populations in the United States, according to a study. The study suggested that the trend is more evident among the rural communities and women aged 25 to 44.

The study, published in a journal called Population and Development Review, found that  drug overdoses and educational disparities were among other reasons for a worsened life expectancy among Non-Hispanic white people in the U.S.

The researchers revealed that younger adults and women in general did not do well because of drug overdose and educational disparities. They also pointed out that respiratory diseases, nervous-system and mental disorders, “likely a lingering result of the smoking epidemic” also increased the mortality rate.

“Though the opioid epidemic initially seemed gravest in Appalachia and other non-metropolitan areas, it has since proven much more widespread. It's one plausible cause for the bleak mortality trends for non-Hispanic whites as a whole,” the scientists stated.

The researchers stated that they witnessed a decline in the life expectancy among non-Hispanic whites in the past 10 years. This fact prompted them to have a closer look at the reasons for it.

The scientists stated that many of the industrialized countries, including the United States, witnessed a steady improvement in the life expectancy of the people for over a century. But the trend slowed or reversed for the white populations in the US during the past three decades.

The researchers further said the reverse trend was more evident among rural communities and the women aged 25 to 44 since 2010. The study was conducted by demographers Samuel Preston and Irma Elo from the University of Pennsylvania along with their colleagues.

“The trends vary by region. Large central metropolitan areas have done extremely well, particularly compared to the non-metropolitan areas that have done poorly. To varying degrees, that pattern is evident across the country,” Elo said in a statement.

They broadened their research by including adults between the age group of 25 to 64. The researchers also analyzed the data on sex, age, race, ethnicity and cause of death compiled by the National Center for Vital Health Statistics.

Then the scientists estimated the death rates by geographic region, year and age. Finally, they divided the data into four locality categories: non-metros, small/medium metros, large metro suburbs and large central metropolitan areas.

“The biggest contrast we saw was between large metropolitan areas and their suburbs and non-metropolitan areas, which have moved in different directions. Between 1990 and 2016, non-metropolitan areas had rising mortality, which is extremely unusual in the context of life expectancy that has gotten better nearly every year for nearly every group for more than a century," co-author Preston said.

 Elo said the study will play a vital role in reversing the negative trends of life expectancy among non-Hispanic population. “There's a lot to be done to try to understand what's driving these patterns and, most importantly, what could be done to change them. I don't think anyone has the crystal ball yet for how to do it,” she added.

Meanwhile, Preston said the U.S started out doing very poor since 1990 and the situation has worsened over the years. “But there are two pieces of good news: The decline in HIV/AIDS mortality has been important in all central metros, but particularly in the mid-Atlantic, south Atlantic, and some of the Pacific region. And there have been declines in cardiovascular diseases pretty much everywhere," he added.