|Title||Association Between Racial Wealth Inequities and Racial Disparities in Longevity Among US Adults and Role of Reparations Payments, 1992 to 2018.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Himmelstein, KEW, Lawrence, JA, Jahn, JL, Ceasar, JN, Morse, M, Bassett, MT, Wispelwey, BP, Darity, WA, Venkataramani, AS|
|Journal||JAMA Network Open|
|Keywords||Black People, ethnicity, Income, Socioeconomic factors|
IMPORTANCE: In the US, Black individuals die younger than White individuals and have less household wealth, a legacy of slavery, ongoing discrimination, and discriminatory public policies. The role of wealth inequality in mediating racial health inequities is unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the contribution of wealth inequities to the longevity gap that exists between Black and White individuals in the US and to model the potential effects of reparations payments on this gap.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cohort study analyzed the association between wealth and survival among participants in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative panel study of community-dwelling noninstitutionalized US adults 50 years or older that assessed data collected from April 1992 to July 2019. Participants included 7339 non-Hispanic Black (hereinafter Black) and 26 162 non-Hispanic White (hereinafter White) respondents. Data were analyzed from January 1 to September 17, 2022.
EXPOSURES: Household wealth, the sum of all assets (including real estate, vehicles, and investments), minus the value of debts.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was all-cause mortality by the end of survey follow-up in 2018. Using parametric survival models, the associations among household wealth, race, and survival were evaluated, adjusting for age, sex, number of household members, and marital status. Additional models controlled for educational level and income. The survival effects of eliminating the current mean wealth gap with reparations payments ($828 055 per household) were simulated.
RESULTS: Of the 33 501 individuals in the sample, a weighted 50.1% were women, and weighted mean (SD) age at study entry was 59.3 (11.1) years. Black participants' median life expectancy was 77.5 (95% CI, 77.0-78.2) years, 4 years shorter than the median life expectancy for White participants (81.5 [95% CI, 81.2-81.8] years). Adjusting for demographic variables, Black participants had a hazard ratio for death of 1.26 (95% CI, 1.18-1.34) compared with White participants. After adjusting for differences in wealth, survival did not differ significantly by race (hazard ratio, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.92-1.08]). In simulations, reparations to close the mean racial wealth gap were associated with reductions in the longevity gap by 65.0% to 102.5%.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this cohort study suggest that differences in wealth are associated with the longevity gap that exists between Black and White individuals in the US. Reparations payments to eliminate the racial wealth gap might substantially narrow racial inequities in mortality.
|PubMed Central ID||PMC9641537|