As Life Expectancy Rises in the United States, Gaps Between Whites and Blacks Are Decreasing

(October 2014) Since 1975, life expectancy at birth in the United States has increased by 10 years for black males, by 7 years for white males and black females, and by only 4 years for white females. In addition, the gap in life expectancy between white and black females decreased from 6 years to 3 years between 1975 and 2011; while the gap between white and black males decreased from 7 years to 4 years across this period. However, these remaining gaps between whites and blacks are one factor contributing to lower life expectancy at birth in the United States compared with other developed countries. Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and France have life expectancies of 82 years or higher, compared with only 79 years in the United States. And, at 81 years, life expectancy at birth for women in the United States is considerably lower than it is for women in many other developed countries, where it has reached 84 years or higher. Hispanic females in the United States have a higher life expectancy at birth than whites or blacks of either gender.

See more in the 2014 World Population Data Sheet.