Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The United States has a long and ongoing history of racial inequality. This chapter surveys the literature on one aspect of that history: long-run trends in racial differences in health. We focus on standard measures such as infant mortality and life expectancy but also consider available data on specific diseases and chronic conditions. Our basic conclusion is that large improvements have occurred in the average health of African Americans during the 20th century, both in absolute terms and relative to whites. These health advancements occurred steadily throughout the 20th century, with the peak period of improvement between 1920 and 1945 (infant mortality) and 1940 and 1960 (overall life expectancy). We attribute the improvements to successful efforts to fight specific diseases, improvements in public health, and narrowing of racial gaps in education and income. Although racial inequality in health outcomes has fallen in the long term, significant disparities remain today.

Keywords: African American, life expectancy, infant mortality, racial gaps, chronic conditions

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.