June 7, 2012- New research shows that the gap between life expectancy of African-Americans and whites is narrowing in the United States. The gap is now at its lowest point in history. A report that was published Wednesday is based on data from the government on deaths in the U.S. from 2003 to 2008.
The report indicated that blacks are making gains in life expectancy helping them to close the gap between themselves and white. The report’s lead author, Sam Harper from Montreal’s McGill University said he and his colleagues believe the change in expectancy rates seems to be due to fewer deaths by African-Americans from heart disease and AIDS.
Also contributing was the fact whites are dying at earlier ages due to unintentional injuries, such as poisonings due to overdoses of prescription drugs.
Even though the gap has narrowed, it does not mean the two are equal. A black male born today can expect 5.4 fewer years of life on average than a white male, and a black female born today can expect 3.7 fewer years than a white female born today.
Harper said it was important to understand the causes of the differences between white-black mortality rates because it can help reduce the amount of health inequalities that exist today.