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New Study Shows How Guns Are Affecting Life Expectancy For Black Americans

This article is more than 4 years old.

A Boston University analysis draws a stark picture of how guns are affecting life expectancy rates in the U.S. — especially for black Americans.

It found that gun deaths are driving down life expectancy rates for black Americans by about four years — that's about double the rate for white Americans.

Dr. Bindu Kalesan, epidemiologist and assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, is the lead author of the study. She says the findings present a complex problem.

"What we saw, which was also again known to an extent, is that among black Americans, it's the young black Americans, and most of the deaths occur before the age of 20. Whereas when you compare it to white Americans, they're older, and it's mostly by suicide," Kalesan said. "So assaultive injuries occur mainly among black Americans, whereas suicide injuries occur among older white Americans."


Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, activist and pastor at the New Roots AME Church in Dorchester. She tweets @RevMariama.

This segment aired on December 5, 2018.

Paris Alston Host, Consider This
Paris Alston was WBUR's host of the Consider This podcast and a former producer for Radio Boston.


Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.



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