According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the life expectancy of Black Americans has improved in recent years — but continues to be lower than that of white people.
NBC News notes that the study notes that structural racism, including in housing and healthcare, plays a role in Black health and that policies are needed to address the issue.
“The interaction of race, ethnicity and geography is really profound and explains a lot of the gaps in health that we see in the United States,” said lead study author Dr. Greg Roth, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, told the news outlet.
The study examined the death records of Black, white, and Hispanic Americans as well as U.S. census data from 1990 to 2019. It found that Black Americans have the lowest life expectancy of all groups.
The disparities varied by state. For example, in Rhode Island, a Black woman has a life expectancy of 87 years, but in Washington, DC that number is more than 10 years less.
While death rates had improved between 1990 and 2019, the coronavirus pandemic has started to change the gap again. The NBC report notes that investments in housing, health care, and education could improve the disparities.