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Last Reviewed: Sept. 15, 2009
Last Modified: Oct. 8, 2010
Content Source:
Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities (OMHD)

White Populations

Smithsonian Institute J.C. Huntington School Scene Early 20th Century

Demographics 10 Leading Causes of Death High Prevalence Health Issues Health Disparities
Health Statistics Slides Government Resources Non-Government Resources
Funding Sources Notes  


Whites are people having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.1
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, those who identify only as white comprise approximately 70 percent of the total U.S. population.
The Census Bureau projects that by the year 2060, white Americans will comprise less than 50 percent of the total U.S. population.
The greatest concentrations of this population are in the Midwest and Northeast, especially Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.2
White Americans belong to a variety of ethnic groups with distinct languages, dialects, and cultures.
Whites represent both extremes of socioeconomic and health status. Some white families have been in the United States for many generations; others are recent immigrants.
The White Population, 2000 (pdf)  US Census Bureau Brief

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10 Leading Causes of Death
White Population, U.S., 2007
  1. Heart disease 6. Alzheimer's Disease
  2. Cancer 7. Diabetes
  3. Chronic lower respiratory disease 8. Influenza and pneumonia
  4. Stroke 9. Nephritis, Nephrotic syndrome, and Nephrosis
  5. Unintentional injuries 10. Suicide
Leading Causes of Death by Race/Ethnicity (pdf)
Health, U.S., 2010, Table 26.
Other High Prevalence Health Issues
In addition, white Americans have disproportionately high prevalence of the following conditions and risk factors:

    topic page

Tuberculosis (TB)

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Health Disparities
The health status of white Americans is often used as the “baseline” against which other racial and ethnic groups are measured. However, whites experience many of the same health problems as other groups.
Factors that contribute to poor health outcomes among whites include lack of access to health care and lack of health insurance.
For more information on some of the health disparities faced by the white community click below for slides and statistics on that topic.
Mortality Rates by Race/Ethnicity, (pdf) Health, U.S., 2006, Table 29
Mid Course Review, Healthy People 2010
Data 2010, Healthy People 2010

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  Slides showing Disparity (ppt)
PowerPoint Presentation on the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD) containing data slides (beginning with slide 21) comparing U.S. incidence or mortality rates by race/ethnicity.
To view these slides in PDF format, see Slides (PDF)

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Health Statistics
CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
  Health of White Population, Fast Stats
  Health Data Interactive
  Health, United States, 2006
  Mortality Rates by Race/Ethnicity, (pdf) Table 28
  Leading Causes of Death by Race/Ethnicity, (pdf) Table 30
  Healthy People 2010
  Data 2010
  Mid Course Review
U.S. Census Bureau
  The White Population, Brief, 2000 (pdf)

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Government Resources
  National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP)
    Office of Health Disparities, NCHSTP
    Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
  National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
  National Immunization Program (NIP)
  National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  Cancer Health Disparities National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  SAMHSA (Mental Health)
  Mental Health
SAMHSA Surgeon General's Report
  Executive Orders & Departmental Initiatives

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Non-Government Resources
  Alzheimer's Association
  American Cancer Society (ACS)
  Americans Diabetes Association (ADA)
  American Heart Association (AHA)
  American Lung Association (ALA)
  National SIDS Resource Center (NSRC)

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  CDC Funding Opportunities

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  1 Census Bureau, Census 2000 Brief: Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin, 2000.(pdf)
  2 The White Population, 2000 (pdf)  US Census Bureau Brief

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  Census 2000 adheres to the federal standards for collecting and presenting data on race and Hispanic origin as established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in October 1997 and subsequent guidelines.  One of the most important changes for Census 2000 was the revision of the questions on race and Hispanic origin to better reflect the country’s growing diversity. The federal government considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate and distinct concepts. In addition, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders are counted as two separate and distinct racial groups. Because of these changes, the Census 2000 data on race are not directly comparable with data from the 1990 census or earlier censuses. Caution must be used when interpreting changes in the racial composition of the U.S. population over time.
  Census Bureau Glossary of Terms: Race, 2000.
  Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Provisional Guidance on the Implementation of the 1997 Standards for Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, 2000.
  OMB Recommendations form the Interagency Committee for the Review of the Racial and Ethnic Standards to the OMB Concerning Changes to the Stnadards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, 1997.

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