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African American Health

What you should know

Graphic: Young African Americans are living with diseases more common at older ages.

Problem: Young African Americans are living with diseases more common at older ages.

Disease type Ages Race/Ethnicity Percent (%)
High blood pressure 18-34 African American 12
White 10
35-49 African American 33
White 22
50-64 African American 64
White 41
Diabetes 18-34 African American 1.5
White 1.4
35-49 African American 10
White 6
50-64 African American 23
White 14
Stroke 18-34 African American 0.7
White 0.4
35-49 African American 2
White 1
50-64 African American 7
White 4

African Americans and whites include Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin.
Source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2015.

African Americans are more likely to die at early ages from all causes.

Ages Race/Ethnicity Deaths per 100,000 people
18-34 African American 142
White 100
35-49 African American 312
White 220
50-64 African American 1,046
White 722

Graphic: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Deaths in African Americans ages 65 years and older

A line graph shows how deaths per 100,000 people in African Americans ages 65 years and older decreased steadily from 1999 to 2015.

Year Heart disease Cancer Stroke
1999 1,902.6 1,305 483.4
2000 1,854.5 1,293.1 483.5
2001 1,805.5 1,269.6 466.1
2002 1,759.8 1,247 455.7
2003 1,705.6 1,210.8 437.1
2004 1,591.5 1,185.1 414.1
2005 1,540.8 1,159.8 384.7
2006 1,460.4 1,134.8 359
2007 1,399.4 1,126.7 354.1
2008 1,345.5 1,090.2 335.8
2009 1,272.9 1,068.8 307.8
2010 1,240.8 1,067.9 303.7
2011 1,174 1,039.1 291.7
2012 1,151 1,010.6 281
2013 1,136.4 983.3 278.7
2014 1,100.8 958.9 281.6
2015 1,085.5 927.7 287.2

The causes of death included in this study were heart disease, cancer, and stroke. The decreases in deaths due to heart disease, cancer, and stroke are shown for African Americans and whites.

Cause of Death Decrease (%) Race/Ethnicity
Heart disease 43 African American
38 White
Cancer 29 African American
20 White
Stroke 41 African American
41 White

Some social factors and health risks affect African Americans at younger ages:

Social factor/health risk Ages Race/Ethnicity Percent (%)
Unemployment 18-34 African American 13
White 6
35-49 African American 8
White 4
50-64 African American 5
White 3
Living in poverty 18-34 African American 25
White 16
35-49 African American 19
White 10
50-64 African American 20
White 9
No home ownership 18-34 African American 69
White 53
35-49 African American 57
White 34
50-64 African American 45
White 22
Could not see an MD because of cost 18-34 African American 19
White 15
35-49 African American 19
White 15
50-64 African American 18
White 12
Smoking 18-34 African American 19
White 20
35-49 African American 20
White 20
50-64 African American 24
White 18
Not active 18-34 African American 26
White 19
35-49 African American 30
White 25
50-64 African American 35
White 28
Obesity 18-34 African American 29
White 22
35-49 African American 43
White 32
50-64 African American 43
White 33

SOURCES: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2015; American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, 2014.

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