The overall life expectancy in the US increased by 2.3 years from 2000 to 2019, but varied significantly among racial and ethnic groups, according to a new study funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The study examined trends in life expectancy at the county level in the US.
In most counties, life expectancy for the black population has increased more than any other racial and ethnic group. But overall, the black population still has a lower life expectancy than the white population.
The study noted that the decrease in the white-black life expectancy gap could be attributed to the stagnation and reversal of gains in the white population.
At the same time, the Latino/Hispanic and Asian populations had the longest life expectancy at the national level, but this advantage was not observed in all counties. While these population groups maintained longer life expectancy than the white population, the advantage narrowed in a sizeable minority of counties for the Latino/Hispanic population (42 percent) and in most counties for the Asian population (60.2 percent).
In addition, Native American and Alaska Native populations have the lowest life expectancy of all populations and experienced a decrease in most counties, with a gap of more than 21 years in some counties, according to the study.
"The novel details in this study provide us the opportunity to evaluate the impact of social and structural determinants on health outcomes in unprecedented ways," said Eliseo J. Perez-Stable, co-author and director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of NIH. "This in turn allows us to better identify responsive and enduring interventions for local communities."