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Race and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans

Dora L. Costa

NBER Working Paper No. 10902
Issued in November 2004
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Economics, Development of the American Economy

This paper uses the records of the Union Army to compare the older age mortality experience of the first black and white cohorts who reached middle and late ages in the twentieth century. Blacks faced a greater risk of death from all causes, especially in large cities, from infectious and parasitic diseases, from genito-urinary disease, and from heart disease, particularly valvular heart disease. Blacks' greater risk of death was the result both of the worse conditions in which they lived at the time of their deaths and of their lifelong poorer nutritional status and higher incidence of infectious disease. Compared to the 1821-40 black cohort, the 1841-50 black cohort was both under greater stress at a young age and had higher older age mortality rates.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10902

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