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Cause-specific contributions to black-white differences in male mortality from 1960 to 1995

Author(s): Elo Irma T. | Drevenstedt Greg L.

Journal: Demographic Research
ISSN 1435-9871

Volume: Special collection 2;
Start page: 10;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Between 1960 and 1995 the black-white difference in male life expectancy in the United States increased from 6.7 years to 8.2 years. To provide insights into why mortality trends have been more adverse for black men than for white men, we investigate which causes of death were principally responsible for changes in the black-white difference in male mortality at ages 15-64 between 1960 and 1995. We find that black-white differences in male mortality varied substantially during this period. The gap increased in the 1960s, declined in the 1970s, and widened in the 1980s-early 1990s. Our findings reveal considerable variation in black-white disparities by cause of death and by age, as well as changes in the relative importance of various causes of death to the black-white male mortality disparity over time. The results suggest that consequences of black-white differences in socioeconomic status, access to quality health care, living conditions, and residential segregation vary by cause of death.

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