Intended for healthcare professionals


Black Americans have seen 1.63 million excess deaths in past two decades, study finds

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 18 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1143
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

The number of black people in the US who died between 1999 and 2020 was 1.63 million higher than it would have been if their mortality had matched that of white people, new research published in JAMA has found.1

The burden of excess deaths amounted to more than 80 million years of life lost, many of them lost to premature deaths from heart disease and by comparatively high infant mortality. A black infant born in the US is 2.3 times as likely to die in their first year as a white infant.

The results suggest that, nearly four decades after the 1985 Heckler report on health disparities revealed that black Americans were suffering about 60 000 excess deaths a year, the scale of the problem remains …

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