Native Americans die younger than whites and other groups: Study

2021-11-29 18:36:50
Native Americans die younger than whites and other groups: Study

A recent study in the US has confirmed that Native Americans have a lower life expectancy compared to other racial groups, a product of historical traumas, including genocide, colonization and forced removal and assimilation by the US government.

For years, American Indian and Alaska Native people have been misclassified in death records, leading to significant underestimation of death rates and life expectancy.

The life disparities were presented in a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was released this month using 2019 data.

It was the first comprehensive, national mortality assessment of the Native American population.

The study confirmed previous analyses and expanded on them, finding lower life expectancies for American Indian and Alaska Native people compared to white, Black and Hispanic people.

The findings paint a grim picture that's no surprise to Native Americans, who have seen too many lives cut short throughout their communities.

Overall, Native people had a life expectancy of 71 years, compared to Hispanic life expectancy of almost 82 years, whites at 78.8 years, and Blacks at 74.8 years, the study found.

Heart disease was the leading cause of death for Native people that year, followed by cancer, accidents, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis and chronic respiratory diseases.

Natives were also killed at five times the rate of white people, half the rate of Black people and more than twice the rate of Hispanic people.

Overall, Native men and boys had the lowest life expectancy at around 68 years, according to the study. That's a decade less than Hispanics, 7.7 years less than whites, and 2.7 years less than Blacks.

Native women and girls lived longer than males, around 74 years – but still significantly less than others: Their life expectancy was 9.4 years less than Hispanics, 6.3 years less than whites, and around 3 years less than Blacks.

Members of Native American tribes from the northeastern region of the United States gathered Thursday to mourn Indigenous people worldwide who've suffered centuries of racism and mistreatment.

The National Day of Mourning observance recalls the disease and oppression that European settlers brought to North America.

The annual observance takes place on Thanksgiving holiday. For many, rather than a celebration of peace and shared prosperity between Native Americans and European settlers, the holiday represents the dark shadow of genocide and the resilience of Native people.

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