Life Expectancy in Four U.S. Racial/Ethnic Populations: 1990

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Previous estimates of lite expectancy in the United States have not corrected for biases in population and mortality data, and no study has examined life expectancy in U.S. Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian populations. We used information on population undercounts by race/ethnicity in the census and on misclassification of race/ethnicity on death certificates to calculate life expectancy for black, white, American Indian, and Asian men and women in the United States in 1990. Correction for undercount and misclassification had little effect on life expectancy estimates for whites, but it substantially decreased estimates for American Indians and Asians. Asian men had life expectancies of 82.0 years and Asian women 85.8 years—the highest life expectancies reported for any population in the world and beyond the limit predicted by some current theories.

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