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Publication date: 
June 28, 2022


Life expectancy (LE) differences within and between states by race/ethnicity have not been examined.


To estimate LE for selected race/ethnicity groups in states from 1990 to 2019.


Cross-sectional time-series analysis.


United States.


Deidentified death records and Census data were used to construct regression models with smoothed time series of mortality from 1990 to 2019.


LE at birth, by sex and year, for subgroups of people reporting Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, or non-Hispanic White race/ethnicity.


Disparities in LE across states were 8.0 years for females and 12.2 years for males in 1990 and 7.9 years for females and 7.8 years for males in 2019. When race/ethnicity groups were accounted for, disparities across states were 20.7 years for females and 24.5 years for males in 1990, decreasing to 18.5 years for females and 23.7 years for males in 2019. Disparities across states increased within each race/ethnicity group between 1990 and 2019, with the largest increase for non-Hispanic White males and the smallest for Hispanic females. The disparity between race/ethnicity groups within states decreased for most of the 23 states with estimates for all 3 groups but increased for females in 7 states and males in 5 states.


Because of small sample size, LE was not estimated for 37 of 153 state-race/ethnicity groups.


Disparity in LE across states was greater when race/ethnicity groups were considered. Disparities across all state–race/ethnicity groups in general have decreased over the past 3 decades. Within each race/ethnicity group, disparities across states have increased. Although racial/ethnic disparities decreased in most of the 23 states for which LE was estimated for all 3 groups, they increased for females in 7 states and males in 5 states.

Primary Funding Source

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.


Catherine O. Johnson, Alexandra S. Boon-Dooley, Nicole K. DeCleene, et al; Life Expectancy for White, Black, and Hispanic Race/Ethnicity in U.S. States: Trends and Disparities, 1990 to 2019. Ann Intern Med. [Epub 28 June 2022]. doi:10.7326/M21-3956.