A Social Demography of Racial Health Disparities

Audrey N. Beck, San Diego State University

Health disparities are an intractable, but not inevitable feature of the American stratification system. Sub-population groups that bear the brunt of poverty, marginalized labor, discrimination, wage gaps, and segregation ­also bear the brunt of poor health (Williams and Collins 1995). Consequently, investigations into possible social, economic, and structural explanations are necessary in order to better understand the origin and cause of modern health disparities. One of the most disconcerting finding with regards to health disparities is the persistent racial gap in health, mortality, and morbidity. This proposal represents a systematic attempt to both understand and explain how these patterns have both persisted and fluctuated over time. Specifically, this research project will take an ambitious demographic approach to health disparities by looking at age, period, and cohort effects and how they change temporally to produce health disparities and changes in health disparities over time.

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Presented in Poster Session 7