New Study Shows Hispanics in U.S. Outliving White, Black Populations

According to a new report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, Hispanics in the U.S. have a higher life expectancy than non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks, a result that may be surprising to many given the Hispanic population's lower socioeconomic status.

In 2006, life expectancy for Hispanics in the U.S. checked in at 80.6 years, 2.5 years higher than the non-Hispanic white population's 78.1 years, 7.7 years higher than the non-Hispanic black population's 72.9 years, and 2.9 years higher than the 77.7 year life expectancy for the U.S. population in its entirety.

According to the report's authors, the results are "consistent with the findings of numerous studies which show a Hispanic mortality advantage despite this population's lower socioeconomic status." The largest differential in life expectancy between these groups when split by sex was found when Hispanic females, with a life expectancy of 83.1 years, were compared with non-Hispanic black men, who have a life expectancy of 69.2 years, the total difference totaling 13.9 years.

The higher life expectancy for Hispanics as compared with non-Hispanic white and black people is consistent every year until the age of 95, "when Hispanic male and non-Hispanic black male life expectancy is equal at 3.5 years."

The report "presents the first ever U.S. life tables by Hispanic origin and race for the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations," due to a lack of available data in recent years--an issue the report addresses. The authors suggest three possible reasons for the higher Hispanic life expectancy: It is a data artifact, produced by differences in ethnic classifications, age misstatements or failures in linking data sets; caused by migration effects; or the result of cultural differences. Though the authors feel they addressed the first possible cause effectively, they called for future research to determine the validity of either or both of the other theories.
SSDAN Office

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