Black Americans' Life Expectancy Is Catching Up to White Americans'

The CDC finds that with heart disease fatalities down, the gap is closing.

Some good news out of the Centers for Disease Control. Largely thanks to a drop in heart disease, the gap in life expectancy between black and white Americans is down to just 3.6 years.

A child born in 2013 is projected to live to 75.5 years of age if black, 79.1 years if white. That’s compared to a 71.4-year expectancy for blacks and a 77.3-year expectancy for whites born in 1999, nearly a six-year disparity.

Getting heart disease numbers down among blacks pushed the life expectancy gap down 135 days all on its own. Improvements in the mortality rates for health problems in infancy, cancer, HIV, and unintentional injuries make up the rest of the difference. On the flipside, black Americans lost ground on mortality rates compared to whites afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, aortic aneurysms, and health conditions associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

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