New data drawn from the U.S. Center for Disease Control found that the life expectancy for African Americans has gone up in the past few years. For black men the rate is 70.8 years and for women it's 77.5 years. The numbers show a narrowing gap between White and Blacks due to a convergence in the rate of deaths from HIV and heart disease. Researchers also believe there are increased deaths of White people from prescription drug abuse.

The researchers looked at data compiled by the CDC and others and found that differences in the rates of heart disease, diabetes, homicide, HIV, and infant mortality remained the main reasons for the racial gap. Among men, heart disease and homicide were the two primary contributors. For women, the two contributors were heart disease and diabetes.