Article Highlights:

  • Despite increased attention to social determinants of health and access to care, racial health disparities persist in mortality rates across the country, according to a new report published in JAMA Network Open. The cross-sectional study analyzed 26 million death records from the National Vital Statistics System, spanning from 2008 to 2019. From this data, researchers calculated all-cause mortality rates for the general population, the Black population, and the White population in the country’s 30 most populous cities.
  • The magnitude of racial health disparities varied from city to city. For instance, there were six excess Black deaths every year in El Paso compared to 3,804 in Chicago. Washington, DC had the greatest disparity, with a mortality rate for Black residents over twice as high as that the death rate of White residents.
  • The authors noted that San Francisco had the lowest mortality rate of the 30 cities, but it had the second highest level of inequity. In contrast, Las Vegas and seven other cities had mortality rates higher than the rest of the country but lower rates of racial inequity. While nationwide racial health disparities decreased marginally over the study period, only two big cities saw significant decreases in racial inequity. Six saw significant increases in racial health disparities and most cities (22 of 30) did not observe any statistically significant changes in disparity levels.

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