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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

3 Reasons Why Black People Are More Likely to Have Disabilities After Age 55

African American senior couple

A recent study showed that black people -- particularly black women -- are more likely than whites to experience disabilities as they grow older. It's a real bummer since Americans in general are living longer, but the study revealed that living longer can present more health disabilities among the black community.

Living longer is great, but...

It's true that the life span of Americans has increased. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the life expectancy of Americans is now averaging 78.8 years. The National Institute on Aging predicts life expectancy to increase 351 percent for 85-and-over population, 188 percent increase for the population aged 65 or older, and 22 percent increase for the population under age 65, between now and 2050. But far more black Americans are also expected to live with more disabilities.

A study at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research saw differences in the qualify of life that can be expected for blacks and whites, based on disabilities that would prevent them from doing things without assistance. They discovered a gap in the years that each group would live before experiencing a disability. The results: the percent of the remaining years expected disability-free was 67 percent for blacks and 76 percent for whites.

3 reasons for the gap

Some of the reasons proposed as to why black people may experience more disabilities than whites include:
  1. Black Americans are less likely to have health insurance
  2. Black women are more likely to experience more stress from being heads of their households than white women
  3. African-Americans have worse education, lower income and fewer social ties, all leading to worse health outcomes

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