Opportunity for Health

Association Between Racial Wealth Inequities and Racial Disparities in Longevity Among US Adults and Role of Reparations Payments, 1992 to 2018

Atheendar S. Venkataramani, MD, PhD · Katherine Himmelstein · Jourdyn Lawrence · Jaquelyn Jahn · Joniqua Ceasar · Michelle Morse · Mary Bassett · Bram Wispelwey · William Darity, Jr
JAMA Network Open · November 7, 2022

Research Question  What share of the longevity gap that exists between Black and White individuals in the US is explained by differences in wealth, and to what extent might reparations payments to Black individuals close this gap?

Findings  In this cohort study of 7339 Black and 26 162 White middle-aged US adults, differences in survival were largely mediated by differences in household wealth. Simulations suggested that reparations payments aimed at closing the wealth gap between Black and White individuals could markedly reduce racial inequities in longevity.

Meaning  These findings suggest that reparations payments may be an effective strategy to reduce racial inequities in longevity.