Schwandt H., Currie J., Bär M., Banks J., Bertoli P., Bütikofer A., … ,Wuppermann A. (2021).

Inequality in mortality between Black and White Americans by age, place, and cause and in comparison to Europe, 1990 to 2018. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences118 (40).


From 1990 to 2018, the Black–White American life expectancy gap fell 48.9% and mortality inequality decreased, although progress stalled after 2012 as life expectancy plateaued. Had improvements continued at the 1990 to 2012 rate, the racial gap in life expectancy would have closed by 2036. Despite decreasing mortality inequality, income-based life expectancy gaps remain starker in the United States than in European countries. At the same time, European mortality improved strongly and even those U.S. populations with the longest life spans–White Amer- icans living in the highest-income areas–experience higher mor- tality at all ages than Europeans in high-income areas in 2018. Hence, mortality rates of both Black and White Americans could fall much further in both high-income and low-income areas.