Study: Black Life Expectancy in the U.S. Still Significantly Lower Than Whites; Why?

March 22, 2012  |  

Although the racial gaps in many areas of life are closing slightly in the U.S., research says that there is still a significant gap in black life expectancy compared to that of our white counterparts. In a newly released Health Services Research study conducted by UCLA, blacks continue to live shorter lives than whites in every state in the U.S. on average, as white females live five years longer than black females and white men live seven years longer than black males.

As a part of the university’s study, the disparities are broken down by state and the average life expectancy years in between the two races. New Mexico, with the smallest disparity, has a gap of 3.76 years for men and 2.45 years for women as the average life span difference. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., has the largest life expectancy gap, with white females living 8.55 years longer than black females and a shocking 13.77 years between the lives of the average black and white males living in the District.

The discouraging study concludes that eliminating disparities in states with the largest African-American population would impact these numbers drastically, a positive solution for the following 10 U.S. states where over 58 percent of the country’s blacks reside: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri and Louisiana. In contrast, states like Kentucky, West Virginia, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington reported smaller year gaps in life expectancy, but coincidentally, these smaller numbers were not the result of blacks with longer life span, but due to whites with shorter life spans than the national average.

With the national average life expectancy being 74.79 years for white men and 67.66 years for black men and 79.84 years for white women in comparison to 74.64 years for black women, it is clear that the statistical odds of living longer than whites in many states seems bleak.

Various factors have led to these figures that work against our community as a whole, as well as the quality of life. Experts note that key factors impact the life span of the average American, which include accessibility to health care, HIV/AIDS, homicide, obesity, diabetes and other health and life risks that are statistically proven to be disproportionately more present in the black community.

According to the study, the accessibility to health care plays a major role, stating:

“Federal and state health policies that simply concentrate on the black–white difference in a geographic region may miss important opportunities to improve overall population health or significantly reduce disparity at the national level… Blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of the low-income, Medicaid-eligible population, and we found that Massachusetts and New York, two states where black populations have longer-than-expected life expectancy, are also the states that have expanded Medicaid coverage.”

Knowing that these factors play a key role in our life span more so than they do for others in America, we must be conscious of our health and well-being in order to live more healthy and longer. That includes everything from evaluating our eating habits and our lifestyle choices, being aware of our bodies inside and out, having access to healthcare, helping slow violent crimes in our communities and a lot more.

Are we doing enough as a community to live longer? How can we combat this issue with our lifestyles to close the gap?

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  • Curtis

    Why do Black males live longer in prison?

  • Keisha

    It’s ’cause white folks rayciss. We need laws made to even it out. It’s time to amend Affirmative Action so we can sue them for having longer average lifespans, or laws that they have to kill themselves before they outlive our average life expectancy. Duh!

    • Beastmode

      Get back in school. And yes, I’m black, but you sound stupid. Do something about it.

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    do we really have to ask when we tragedies like Trayvon Martin? These kinds of incidents are more common them people would like to tthink.

  • icanbutiwont

    + Massive abortion rate = population stagnation.

  • Well selling drugs to poision the community, black on black crime, and not working out because “thick is beautiful” would be nice to change.

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  • Gmarie

    its about socioeconomic status more than anything else

  • Miss Anonymous

    Maybe my family is irregular then, my grandfather died at age 82 or 83; his mother at 94. My aunt died at 83 with her sister being 92 and still alive and kicking. They all lived in the south and went beyond the life expectancy for white people. 

    Oh and fyi, my grandfather was on dialysis for 11 years.

    • Lotion4thatAsh

      Yours is the norm. These statistics are all lies. Black people barely participate in census sheets and where ever else these people pretend they’re getting facts from. That’s why I don’t believe any of this to be true,white people speaking for us or that one token black guy that’s seems to speak for all of us.

      • F3ral Anarchy

         most of these statistics come from the CDC which gets a copy of every death certificate. On said death certificates is CAUSE OF DEATH.  So unless the hospital people are born in and the DRs that perform the autopsies have some kind of hidden agenda you can probably bet the information is straight forward.  Im a conspiracy theorist myself and have asked an uncle and cousin who work in morgues if those “numbers” are correct and they both have said the same thing.  “YES we as blacks are dying earlier”.  Ive asked with non murder/suicide cases what are the biggest killers and they both pretty much say the same thing. diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and heart issues. 

        • Shannel

          Thank you.

    • Brownielocks

       I’ll have to check out  the study, but a HUGE factor in life expectancy is infant mortality. In a population with high infant mortality, it can make the average life span seem low, even when those who survive to adulthood live to very old ages. Life expectancy is not life span.

      Unfortunately, African Americans do have high infant mortality rates.

  • Vic

    Why ? Because we live in a system of White Supremacy. 

    • Nothing like the constant abuse that comes with institutionalized racism that will lessen your quality of life.

  • Lotion4thatAsh

    Black people waste their time on matters that don’t concern them and let everything else slide like your health,mental health, and white people who hate you. Not to mention c o on sites like this that help keep black people in their bubble of stupidity.

    • L-Boogie

      This is not a c**n site.  However, since White dominance is still the norm by which everything is measured this is why Black health statistics are still compared to Whites a means of measurement and observation.  

  • TruthHurtz

    Why do we always compare ourselves to whites? Tired of all these studies comparing black this to white that. 

    • Lotion4thatAsh

      This site isn’t called Madame c o on for no reason. Busy worrying and comparing themselves to Massa to put up anything of substance.

      • MNEditor2

        You sure come on here often though Mr or Miss Lotion. Feel free to email us ideas on pieces you think would be good to discuss, aka, “have substance.” We tell people that often, and even allow them the chance to write on topics they think are important. That’s always an option.

        • Lotion4thatAsh

          I would definitely like to take you up on that offer. Where do I get in contact with you?

    • Danielle Daniels

      This is about “comparing ourselves to whites” is a scientific study on healthcare disparities in this nation! Why be so cynical about something that affects all of us, regardless of race? 

    • Justice0501

      Because whites are usually better at everything. Find a statistic that this isn’t true. You can try comparing yourselves to Asians, but you’ll have the same outcome.