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Inequality in Life Expectancy, Functional Status and Active Life Across Selected Black and White Populations in the United States

Publication Abstract

Geronimus, Arline T., John Bound, Timothy A. Waidmann, Cynthia Colen, and Diane Steffick. 2001. "Inequality in Life Expectancy, Functional Status and Active Life Across Selected Black and White Populations in the United States." Demography, 38(2): 227-251.

We calculated population-level estimates of mortality, functional health, and active life expectancy for black and white adults living in a diverse set of 23 local areas in 1990, and nationwide. At age 16, life expectancy and active life expectancy vary across the local populations by as much as 28 and 25 years respectively. The relationship between population infirmity and longevity also varies. Rural residents outlive urban residents, but their additional years are primarily inactive. Among urban residents, those in more affluent areas outlive those in high-poverty areas. For both whites and blacks, these gains represent increases in active years. For whites alone they also reflect reductions in years spent in poor health.

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