Individual Health Status and Minority Racial Concentration in U.S. States and Counties
Several recent studies have documented a significant positive effect of minority racial concentration on overall mortality rates. These findings pertain to ecological studies of states, cities, counties and census tracts in the U.S. In this paper, we examine whether this effect persists after controlling for an individual’s race, socioeconomic status, and other attributes. We conduct an individual-level analysis of health status using data from the Current Population Survey merged with Census Bureau estimates of fraction Black by state and county. Our findings suggest that minority racial concentration has no significant effect on health status once individual characteristics and time invariant regional factors are taken into account. We conclude that there are significant differences in the observed effect of minority racial concentration on health across area-level and individual-level analyses. In addition, the effects of income, sex, marital status, area and region of residence on health status vary in size between whites and blacks.
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