Healthify Blog

Black Americans See Gains in Life Expectancy

New federal data is showing that black Americans have made significant health gains since the 1990s, the New York Times reported last month.
 
Those gains have contributed to the narrowest life expectancy gap between blacks and whites in history, having gone from a seven-year gap in 1990 to a 3.4-year gap in 2014, the newspaper reported. Life expectancy as of 2014 was 75.6 years for blacks and 79 years for whites.
 
Life_expectancy_chart.jpg(Image Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Publication No. 2016-1232)
 
Part of the narrowing gap has to do with the opiod crisis among whites, but blacks have seen health improvements in the following areas, the New York Times reported:
 
  • Rate of deaths by homicide down by 40 percent from 1995 to 2013
  • Suicide rate for black men down by 8 percent from 1999 to 2014 (the only racial group of either sex to experience a decline)
  • Infant mortality down by more than a fifth since the late 1990s
  • Teenage births down by 64 percent since 1995
Despite those gains, blacks still face higher death rates than whites from causes such as AIDS, heart disease, cancer and homicides, the Times reported.
 
Healthify is working to further reduce such disparities by efficiently connecting underserved people to social programs that can get them on the path toward good health. The hope is to increase health gains for blacks and other vulnerable populations by facilitating access to services that can provide for basic needs such as food and housing.
 
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Topics: social determinants of health health disparities public health