Life Expectancy in the United States: International and Domestic Comparisons by Ages and Causes of Death

Vladimir Canudas-Romo, Johns Hopkins University
Michal Engelman, University of Chicago

There is a widening gap between life expectancy (LE) in the United States and other high-longevity countries (HLCs) and substantial disparities in survival across subpopulations in America. We determine the contribution of age- and cause-specific mortality to LE gaps: across countries (US vs. 22 HLCs) and American subpopulations (whites vs. blacks, Hispanics vs. non-Hispanic whites,) in 2000-2006. US-LE lags behind that of other HLCs by over 2 years. Infant mortality accounts for over 7% of the differential, but at older ages Americans’ survival is equivalent to that of their international counterparts. The 6.28 years of LE gap between white and black males is greater than that between the US and any other HLC. White females live 4.52 years longer than black females, and 2.67 years less than Hispanic females. America’s internal inequalities along dimensions including race and ethnicity contribute to its low standing in international comparisons of life expectancy.

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Presented in Session 63: Fatal and Non-Fatal Health Outcomes: Comparing Expected Length and Quality of Life by Gender, Race, and National Origin