Race as a Fundamental Cause of Early-Life Mortality in the United States, 1990–2014

Andrea Tilstra , University of Colorado Boulder
Iliya Gutin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Richard G. Rogers, University of Colorado Boulder
Robert Hummer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nathan Dollar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

We seek to augment the current research and conversation surrounding rising extrinsic mortality among young- and middle-aged Americans by emphasizing the importance of race and racism as fundamental determinants of mortality early in the lifecourse. Specifically, we aim to demonstrate that, despite overall declines in early life external mortality over past decades, black-white disparities in relative mortality have remained largely unchanged across a broad range of causes – especially those considered to be more “preventable” and/or “avoidable.” In this paper, we document trends in cause-specific early life mortality using data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) Multiple Cause of Death files and population counts from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result Program (SEER) serve as the denominator. We use age-standardized death rates to show how early life cause-specific mortality has changed from 1990 to 2014 for sex- and race-specific groups of adolescents and young adults.

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 Presented in Session 198. Determinants of Adolescent Mortality