A few years ago PLoS Medicine published Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States. The results were:
– Asian-Americans, per capita income of $21,566, life expectancy of 84.9 years.
– Northland low-income rural Whites, $17,758, 79 years.
– Middle America (mostly White), $24,640, 77.9 years.
– Low-income Whites in Appalachia, Mississippi Valley, $16,390, 75 years.
– Western American Indians, $10,029, 72.7 years.
– Black Middle America, $15,412, 72.9 years.
– Southern low-income rural Blacks, $10,463, 71.2 years.
– High-risk urban Blacks, $14,800, 71.1 years.
That’s a 13.8 year difference between inner city blacks and Asian Americans.
…Indigenous life expectancy at birth is 20 years less than for the total
population, 56 years for Indigenous males compared to 77 years for all
Australian males and 63 years for Indigenous females compared to
82 years for all Australian females for the period 1999-2001….
Read the whole report for the greatly increased rates of alcoholism and other morbidity and mortality enhancing behaviors among indigenous Australians, but check out this breakdown of various increased risks for diseases (adapted from Wikipedia, but the source is the report linked above):
|Health problem||Comparative incidence rate||Comment|
|Circulatory system diseases||2 to 10-fold||5 to 10-fold increase in rheumatic heart disease and hypertensive disease, 2-fold increase in other heart disease, 3-fold increase in death from circulatory system disorders. Circulatory system diseases account for 24% deaths….|
|Renal failure||2 to 3-fold||2 to 3-fold increase in listing on the dialysis and transplant registry, up to 30-fold increase in end stage renal disease, 8-fold increase in death rates from renal failure, 2.5% of total deaths….|
|Communicable diseases||10 to 70-fold||10-fold increase in tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus, 20-fold increase in Chlamydia, 40-fold increase in Shigellosis and Syphilis, 70-fold increase in Gonococcal infections|
|Diabetes||3 to 4-fold||11% incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Indigenous Australians, 3% in non-Indigenous population. 18% of total indigenous deaths….|
|Cot death||2 to 3-fold||Over the period 1999-2003, in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, the national cot death rate for infants was three times the rate|
|Mental health||2 to 5-fold||5-fold increase in drug-induced mental disorders, 2-fold increase in diseases such as schizophrenia, 2 to 3-fold increase in suicide….|
|Optometry/Ophthalmology||2-fold||A 2-fold increase in cataracts|
|Respiratory disease||3 to 4-fold||3 to 4-fold increased death rate from respiratory disease accounting for 8% of total deaths|
I want to emphasize the increased rates of communicable diseases. Some of these, such as the venereal diseases, have behavior-based causes. On the other hand, the susceptibility to tuberculosis is probably in part a function of the fact that Australian Aboriginals have had less exposure to a variety of Eurasian diseases in their evolutionary history.