Racial Gap in Life Expectancy Persists in US
Credit: Kelly Young, Shutterstock

Life expectancy for African Americans has historically been lower than that of whites in the United States, and while the gap is closing, disparities remain, according to a new report.

In 2010, the average life expectancy for blacks was 3.8 years less than that of whites, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blacks had higher rates of death from heart disease, cancer, homicide, diabetes and conditions in infancy, which contributed to the lower life expectancy.

However, blacks had lower rates than whites of death from suicide, unintentional injuries and chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.

Life expectancy for black men was nearly 5 years less than that of white men, while life expectancy for black women was 3.3 years less than that of white women.

In 1970, the gap between the life expectancies of blacks and whites was 7.6 years.

In 2010, white women had the highest life expectancy at birth, 81.3 years, followed by black women (78.0 years), white men (76.5 years) and black men (71.8 years). Life expectancy for the U.S. population as a whole was 78.7 years.

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