How Losing Family Members Earlier than Expected Adds to Racial Disadvantage for U.S. Blacks

Umberson, Debra
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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center
PRC director Debra Umberson uses nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Health and Retirement Study to estimate the differences by race in the likelihood that Blacks will be exposed to more deaths of close family members than Whites throughout their lives. The data shows that Black Americans experience more family member deaths than Whites overall, and specific losses occur earlier in life. Studying this question is important because it could reveal an added layer of racial disadvantage suffered by Blacks that is not captured by differences in life expectancy or mortality alone.
Umberson, D. (2017). How losing family members earlier than expected adds to racial disadvantage for U.S. blacks. PRC Research Brief 2(1). https://doi. org/10.15781/T2N29PC1R