Men and Life Expectancy In 1900, the expectation for white men were to live to age 47, and 12 percent of those born in 1900 would make it to age 65. In contrast, an African American man born in 1900 was only expected to live until the age of 33, and of those born in 1900, only 10 percent of them would live to reach age 65. For both white and African American men born in 1900, a mere four percent ( for each) would reach age 85.
By 1910 the life expectancy for white men grew by two years and those born in 1910 the outlook was to live to 49 years of age. For African Americans, that decade saw only a single year improvement in life expectancy. Five percent of African American men born in 1910 would reach age 85, whereas, only four percent of white men born in that year would celebrate their 85th birthday.
In 1920, white men had an expectancy to live to age 54 and African Americans to age 46. In the 1920’s several medical breakthroughs occurred. We discovered things like vitamins, vaccines, and the introduction of new medications such as Sulfa – all helped to improve the life expectancy. 
At the end of the 1920’s (1929) the great depression started. It would last until 1939 when another incident – World War II – would begin. Both of those events caused premature death. Despite all this, life expectancy in the 1930’s rose for white men with an outlook to live until the age of 60. For African American, the life expectancy for men was low – age 47. For African American men born in 1930, a decrease in the data appears – only four percent would reach the age of 85. A drop of one percent.
White men born in 1950 had a life expectancy of 67 – which today is the age of retirement. For African American men born in 1950, the life expectancy was 59 years of age – nearly a full decade earlier than that of white men. I fact, African American males have a life expectancy of age 68 only after the year 2000, and for white men, born in 2000, the life expectancy is age 75. A difference that parallels from 1950-2000.
In part, the jump in life expectancy in 1950 were improvements in medicine, such as the development of the external pacemaker in 1952 and the first successful open heart surgery in 1953.