Bleak Stats for Black Youth

Rita Price, Columbus Dispatch, July 26, 2008

{snip} According to a report released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, black teens in Ohio die at nearly twice the rate of white teens.

Columbus Public Health officials say the disparity in Franklin County is even worse. Here, the death rate for black teens is more than three times higher.

Child-health advocates say the gap is troubling.

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Black infants also fared poorly, the report says, dying more than twice as often as non-Latino white babies and three times more frequently than Latino infants.

For years, the Casey Foundation has compiled an annual report on child well-being. This is the first time the data, from 2005, also has been broken down by race.

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Jennifer Connery, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus, said money for more programs is only part of the answer. “I think we need awareness just as much,” she said.

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In 2005, the same year studied in the Casey report, 87 percent of all Franklin County homicide victims younger than 18 were black. “And they’re roughly 20 percent of the population,” said Kathleen Cowen of Columbus Public Health. “So that’s the disparity.”

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