The good news is that, in contrast, life expectancy increased by 0.2 years for the Hispanic population (from 81.6 to 81.8 years) and by 0.1 years for the non-Hispanic black population (from 75.1 to 75.2). This continues a trend of a decreasing gap in life expectancy between black and white populations, with improving black life expectancies attributed to decreases in death rates due to heart disease, cancer, HIV disease, unintentional injuries, and perinatal conditions.
Life expectancy rates had steadily for decades, then flattened in 2010-2013. The decline in life expectancy is driven by increased death rates among young and middle-aged whites (mid 20’s to mid 50’s), especially among those with no more than a high school education. A recent study attributed the rise in mortality in this group to rising rates of suicide, liver disease and drug overdoses.
Life expectancy has dipped before–most recently in 2005, the year of a severe influenza epidemic.