Black Men’s Death Rate Exceeds That of Whites

Randolph E. Schmid, AP, Mar. 10

WASHINGTON—Middle-age black men are dying at nearly twice the rate of white men of a similar age, reflecting lower incomes and poorer access to health care, a study says. But mortality among black infants is dropping.

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Some 10,472 of those deaths occurred among black men who were 45 to 54 years old in 2000. The research was based on a death rate of 1,060 per 100,000 black men in that age group, compared with a rate of 503 for white men.

In 1960 the rates were 1,625 for black men and 932 for white men in that age group.

One reason for the differences is that gains in health care access generally have not included black men unless they were older or disabled, Satcher said. For example, when Medicare became law in 1965, the average black man did not live long enough to become eligible, he said.

Other factors include the relatively low incomes of black men compared with whites, a rise in gun-related deaths among blacks, their disproportionately high death rate from AIDS, and higher rates of heart disease and diabetes, Satcher said.

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