Years of life lost, a measure of premature death, declined 28% for black Americans and 4% for white Americans between 1990 and 2014, according to a study published yesterday in the journal PLoS ONE. Whites had a higher proportion of early deaths due to drug overdose than other races, while blacks had a higher proportion of early deaths due to homicide and heart disease. While rates are still higher among blacks than whites, the gap narrowed considerably. Among other changes, early deaths among white and American Indian/Alaska Native women increased 18% and 8%, respectively, over the period.

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