Detroit Today: Black Americans have lower life expectancies than others

Reporter Kat Stafford discusses her investigation into why Black Americans suffer greater ailments and earlier death than their white, Asian or Hispanic peers. 

Young Black child receives a doctor's checkup

Through the COVID-19 pandemic up to March 2021, Black Americans died at 1.4 times the rate of white Americans. Overall, life expectancy for Black Americans is lower in comparison to their white, Hispanic and Asian peers.

A new Associated Press five-part series, “From Birth To Death,” shows that Black Americans disproportionately suffer from things like Asthma, high-blood pressure and Alzheimer’s through every stage of life. Journalist Kat Stafford joined Detroit Today to discuss what she learned through her reporting and how these disparities came to be.

“For centuries, for decades in America, we have seen these health inequities that have impacted generations of Black Americans literally from birth until death, in many cases, before you take your first breath.” — Kat Stafford, investigative reporter

Listen: On the health disparities faced by Black Americans at different life stages.


Kat Stafford is a national investigative reporter for the Associated Press. As she covered Detroit’s extreme losses during the pandemic, she became frustrated with media coverage that didn’t explain why Black Detroiters were dying of COVID-19 at higher rates than people in other racial groups.

“We were failing as a media to dig into the ‘why’ or ‘how did we get to that point?’ So we created this project to really set out the answer to that question.” says Stafford.

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  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.