Excess Mortality among Blacks and Whites in the United States

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. 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.