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Excess mortality among blacks and whites in the United States.
N Engl J Med 1996; 335(21):1552-8NEJM

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Although the general relations between race, socioeconomic status, and mortality in the United States are well known, specific patterns of excess mortality are not well understood.

METHODS

Using standard demographic techniques, we analyzed death certificates and census data and made sex-specific population-level estimates of the 1990 death rates for people 15 to 64 years of age. We studied mortality among blacks in selected areas of New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Alabama (in one area of persistent poverty and one higher-income area each) and among whites in areas of New York City, metropolitan Detroit, Kentucky, and Alabama (one area of poverty and one higher-income area each). Sixteen areas were studied in all.

RESULTS

When they were compared with the nationwide age-standardized annual death rate for whites, the death rates for both sexes in each of the poverty areas were excessive, especially among blacks (standardized mortality ratios for men and women in Harlem, 4.11 and 3.38; in Watts, 2.92 and 2.60; in central Detroit, 2.79 and 2.58; and in the Black Belt area of Alabama, 1.81 and 1.89). Boys in Harlem who reached the age of 15 had a 37 percent chance of surviving to the age of 65; for girls, the likelihood was 65 percent. Of the higher-income black areas studied, Queens--Bronx had the income level most similar to that of whites and the lowest standardized mortality ratio (men, 1.18; women, 1.08). Of the areas where poor whites were studied, Detroit had the highest standardized mortality ratios (men, 2.01; women, 1.90). On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in Appalachia, and in Northeast Alabama, the ratios for whites were below the national average for blacks (men, 1.90; women, 1.95).

CONCLUSIONS

Although differences in mortality rates before the age of 65 between advantaged and disadvantaged groups in the United States are sometimes vast, there are important differences among impoverished communities in patterns of excess mortality.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029, USA.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

8900087

Citation

Geronimus, A T., et al. "Excess Mortality Among Blacks and Whites in the United States." The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 335, no. 21, 1996, pp. 1552-8.
Geronimus AT, Bound J, Waidmann TA, et al. Excess mortality among blacks and whites in the United States. N Engl J Med. 1996;335(21):1552-8.
Geronimus, A. T., Bound, J., Waidmann, T. A., Hillemeier, M. M., & Burns, P. B. (1996). Excess mortality among blacks and whites in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 335(21), pp. 1552-8.
Geronimus AT, et al. Excess Mortality Among Blacks and Whites in the United States. N Engl J Med. 1996 Nov 21;335(21):1552-8. PubMed PMID: 8900087.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Excess mortality among blacks and whites in the United States. AU - Geronimus,A T, AU - Bound,J, AU - Waidmann,T A, AU - Hillemeier,M M, AU - Burns,P B, PY - 1996/11/21/pubmed PY - 1996/11/21/medline PY - 1996/11/21/entrez SP - 1552 EP - 8 JF - The New England journal of medicine JO - N. Engl. J. Med. VL - 335 IS - 21 N2 - BACKGROUND: Although the general relations between race, socioeconomic status, and mortality in the United States are well known, specific patterns of excess mortality are not well understood. METHODS: Using standard demographic techniques, we analyzed death certificates and census data and made sex-specific population-level estimates of the 1990 death rates for people 15 to 64 years of age. We studied mortality among blacks in selected areas of New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Alabama (in one area of persistent poverty and one higher-income area each) and among whites in areas of New York City, metropolitan Detroit, Kentucky, and Alabama (one area of poverty and one higher-income area each). Sixteen areas were studied in all. RESULTS: When they were compared with the nationwide age-standardized annual death rate for whites, the death rates for both sexes in each of the poverty areas were excessive, especially among blacks (standardized mortality ratios for men and women in Harlem, 4.11 and 3.38; in Watts, 2.92 and 2.60; in central Detroit, 2.79 and 2.58; and in the Black Belt area of Alabama, 1.81 and 1.89). Boys in Harlem who reached the age of 15 had a 37 percent chance of surviving to the age of 65; for girls, the likelihood was 65 percent. Of the higher-income black areas studied, Queens--Bronx had the income level most similar to that of whites and the lowest standardized mortality ratio (men, 1.18; women, 1.08). Of the areas where poor whites were studied, Detroit had the highest standardized mortality ratios (men, 2.01; women, 1.90). On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in Appalachia, and in Northeast Alabama, the ratios for whites were below the national average for blacks (men, 1.90; women, 1.95). CONCLUSIONS: Although differences in mortality rates before the age of 65 between advantaged and disadvantaged groups in the United States are sometimes vast, there are important differences among impoverished communities in patterns of excess mortality. SN - 0028-4793 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/8900087/Excess_mortality_among_blacks_and_whites_in_the_United_States_ L2 - http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199611213352102?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -