Black Lives Matter … But They Are Much Shorter

Paul L. Hubbard

By Paul Hubbard, MSW, President Comfort Adult Care Services
Guest Column

According to AARP, on average life span of Black Americans is six years shorter than for their White counterparts. The National Urban League says the average Black life span is four years shorter than the comparable White life. COVID accounts for the difference in life span analyses because the assessments were made at different times.

Both assessments show Black folks are leaving this Earth faster than White folks. Mark Morial, president of the National Urban League, says a Black child born in 2023 is expected to live up to 74.7 years which is four years less than a White child born in 2023.

Black women are 59 percent more likely to die during and after child birth. They are also 31 percent more likely to die from breast cancer. Black men are 52 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer, according to Marc Morial. The Associated Press said Black men are nine times more likely to die of homicide than White men. The Centers for Disease Control said Black people are twice as likely to die from COVID than White people who contract it.

Brookings says the Black life expectancy is lower in the low-income Black neighborhoods because of lack of health care and poor economic conditions. A Kaiser Family Foundation report says lack of access to health care is one of the major reasons for the difference in life spans. The National Institutes of Health says life expectancy in the USA increased between 2000-2019 but widespread gaps among racial and ethnic groups still exist.

The AARP says higher disease rates and greater life challenges, among other factors, mean that African Americans have suffered a cumulative loss of 80 million years of life compared with White people in the 21st century, according to a study of U.S death certificates data.  The findings raise a critical alarm about the need for new health policies aimed at improving longevity for African Americans, researchers say in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Pat Williams RN, of Comfort Care Adult Day Care Services, says for senior citizens to extend their life spans they need to do the following: socialize with other people in activities, have a routine of daily exercises, keep at least quarterly visits to their doctor for health care testing, stick to their prescribed diet, get mental health counseling if needed and pick up skills in counseling their kids and grandkids.

Black Folks, let’s take care of our bodies.