NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 10, 2005

The rate of stroke deaths among black men in the South was 51 percent higher than it was among blacks in other parts of the country according to a new study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health.

The author used information from the National Center for Health Statistics from 1997 through 2001. He compared stroke deaths in 10 Southern states to those in 11 non-Southern states with large black populations, including California, Texas and New York.

According to the researchers, southern blacks are far more at risk for strokes:

  • Among white men ages 55 to 64 living in the South, the stroke death rate was 49 deaths per 100,000 people -- 29 percent higher than the rate among white men living elsewhere.
  • Among black men in the South, the rate was 159 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 105 for black men living elsewhere.
  • Trends were similar among women.

The researchers have several theories for the racial and geographic differences. Southerners are more likely to smoke, be overweight, have high blood pressure and be in poor general health. Lack of good medical care may also be involved.

Researchers also found that blacks with prehypertension were far more likely to suffer strokes or heart disease as a consequence.

Source: George Howard, Remarks at the American Stroke Association conference in New Orleans, February 2, 2005; and Marilynn Marchione, "Study: Southern Blacks Die at Higher Rate," American Heart Association, February 2, 2005.


Browse more articles on Health Issues