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Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina

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  • Green, Tiffany L.
  • Hamilton, Tod G.

Abstract

A growing empirical literature in economics and sociology documents the existence of more favorable social and economic outcomes among mixed-race blacks compared to non-mixed race blacks. However, few researchers consider whether the advantages associated with mixed-race status extend to mortality. To address this gap in the literature, we employ unique data from the 1880 North Carolina Mortality Census records in conjunction with data from 1880 U.S. Census of Population for North Carolina to examine whether mulatto (mixed-race) blacks experienced mortality advantages over to their colored (non-mixed race) counterparts from June 1879 to May 1880. For men between the ages of 20 and 44, estimates demonstrate that all black males, both mulatto and colored, were more likely than whites to die during the survey period. Although our results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in mortality between mulatto and colored black men, we find a substantial mortality advantage associated with mixed-race status among women.

Suggested Citation

  • Green, Tiffany L. & Hamilton, Tod G., 2013. "Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 148-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:148-159
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.06.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    U.S.; North Carolina; Mortality; Race; Colorism;

    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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