A recently released data brings hope, as it shows that life expectancy for black Americans is on the rise. The data was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and it shows an important improvement in numbers.
In the last fifteen years, the gap between the life expectancy for the white and the black Americans has narrowed considerably. In the year 1990, there was a 7 year gap. By 2014, however, it has been reported that the gap had shrunk to 3.4 years. The life expectancy for the white Americans was, on an average, 79 years. As for their black counterparts, the life expectancy was 75.6 years.
The reasons for the narrowing of the age gap is mostly attributed to the opioid epidemic. More white men and women are losing their lives because of heroin and pain killer overdoses. According to the CDCP, the number of people to have died from prescription opioids had quadrupled in only 14 years, from 1990 to 2014.
New developments in medicine and improvement in the effectiveness of HIV and cancer drugs were also a positive contributing factor in the closing of the gap between the African-Americans and the whites.
However, an important cause of the high life expectancy gap between the two races is homicide. Black Americans are eight times more predisposed to die in a homicide than the whites. Some diseases play an important role as well. Black Americans have higher chances of dying from diabetes, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. They are also 30 percent more susceptible to die of heart disease.
There has been progress, still. Between the years 1995 and 2013, the rate of death by homicide has lowered by 40 percent in the case of black Americans. The rate of death from cancer also dropped by 29 percent for the non-white population over the same period.
The bad news is that African-Americans are still at a disadvantage when it comes to health. Although life expectancy for black Americans is on the rise, healthcare is better and the living standard is higher, the opioid epidemic among the whites was an important factor for the narrowing of the gap. Despite the good news, Black Americans are still catching up to the whites. It’s a consequence of a limited access to quality healthcare, high incarceration rates, predisposed health conditions or higher homicide rates.
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