“Poverty is very wearing on the body,” Dr. Kushel said. “Fifty is the new 75.”

A quarter of the homeless people she began studying nine years ago are now dead. The median age of death was 63, well below the average U.S. life expectancy of 77.

Across California, homeless deaths are overwhelmingly among men, and especially Black men who are dying on the streets at rates far disproportionate to their share of the general population. In Los Angeles County, men make up 67 percent of the homeless population but 83 percent of homeless deaths. In San Francisco, men in their 50s have the highest rates of overdose deaths among all age deciles.

Keith Humphreys, a Stanford psychologist, said the issue of death and despair among older men was underappreciated and understudied. He said society should ask the question: “Can we help men from dying so much?”

David Brown, 59, a former bus driver and fast-food employee in San Francisco who is currently enrolled in a rehabilitation program at the Salvation Army, describes the circumstances that put him on the streets as a life’s accumulation of woes. The knee problems from cramming his tall frame into the bus driver’s seat. The type 2 diabetes. The prison terms he served for burglary. A lifetime struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse.

So many friends died in shootings around the time of the crack epidemic in the 1980s and from overdoses on the streets that he feels entirely bereft.

“I don’t have anybody in my life,” he said.

Pamela Prickett, a sociologist who has studied death records in Los Angeles, said one measure of male isolation is that men’s bodies go unclaimed at the morgue at twice the rate of women. The rates that bodies go unclaimed, which have been climbing since the 1970s, are highest among men in their 40s and 50s.

“There are more people not getting married or getting divorced and not getting remarried,” Ms. Prickett said. “So we find lots of loners.”

Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, said he had seen a pattern of men being ill-equipped to handle “triggers” in life such as illness and losing a job or a spouse.

“As men get older they tend to be less good at building and maintaining relationships,” he said. “When people do not have a safety net to catch them in the form of community and strong healthy relationships, it’s much more likely they end up struggling with substance use disorders, with mental illness and homelessness.”

Ivan Perez, 53, is philosophical about what caused his life to go off the rails. His wife’s miscarriage and their marriage that fell apart. A marijuana habit that sank his career as a stockbroker. Prison time for an assault when he was high. Gambling.

“Being alone you kind of have no excuses to say it’s my wife’s fault, it’s my mom’s fault, it’s society’s fault,” Mr. Perez said.

In recent months he has slept on the streets in a tent near the North Hollywood subway station. The soundtrack to his life, he said, is the hissing of passing trucks next to his tent and the swoosh of street cleaners.

“There’s a certain posture that you take when you are homeless,” he said. “You lose your dignity.”

His goal, he said, was to live as long as his father, who died at 54 and a half. He is not far off.

Mr. Perez remembered the hopes he had when he was younger of becoming an actor or a playwright.

“I tried to do all the right things and it blew up in my face,” he said.

“What a raw deal this life turned out to be.”

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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