Racial Disparities in Poverty Account for Mortality Differences in Medicare Beneficiaries

SSS epidemiologist Chyng-Wen Fwu is among the authors of an article in SSM – Population Health that describes a study of how poverty at the individual level contributes to higher mortality in black populations than in whites. Based on data from 2004–2010 for a random sample of Medicare beneficiaries, overall, black beneficiaries had higher sex-and-age-adjusted mortality than whites. Controlling for individual-level poverty—in contrast to the more common area-level poverty—accounts for the white survival advantage in Medicare beneficiaries, and should be considered in data analyses. The article was coauthored by researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Westat.