Friday, August 2, 2019

Why do African Americans live to be 64.8 years in Cambria County? Not drug overdoses.

Back on April 4, I posted on how African American life expectancy in Cambria County lagged behind the state and US rates and behind other groups.  This can be seen in the Table below.  Questions were put to me on how the opioid epidemic might be related to this discrepancy.


Group Life Expectancy (Years)
Cambria County[1]
Pennsylvania
US
Overall
75.6
78.3
78.6
Caucasian
76.1
78.9
78.5
African-American
64.8
73.4
74.8
Hispanic
87.7
85.3
81.8



[1] Source National Center for Health Statistics - Mortality Files

Drug overdose deaths for Cambria County 2015-2018

The website Overdose Free PA presents drug overdose data for Cambria County and the other 66 Counties in the state.  It states that between 2015 and 2018 there were 299 drug overdose deaths in the county.  90% of these deaths were Caucasian and 8% were African American.  78% of the deaths were between the age of 25 and 54.  67% were male.  Many of the dead had multiple drugs involved.  



County
Deaths 2015-2018
2018 Population
Deaths/100,000
Cambria
299
131,730
227.0
Bedford
41
48,176
85.1
Blair
141
122,492
115.1
Centre
72
162,805
44.2
Clearfield
52
79,388
65.5
Fayette
219
130,441
167.9
Indiana
157
84,501
185.8
Somerset
98
73,952
132.5
Philadelphia
3,960
1,584,138
250.0
Allegheny
2,243
1,218,452
184.1
Pennsylvania
17,900
12,807,060
139.8

The County does have a high rate of overdoses compared to the surrounding counties with 227 deaths per 100,000.  Compared to the post populous counties in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia had a higher rate at 250 deaths per 100,000 while Allegheny at 184.1/100,000.  The State rate for this period was 139.8 deaths per 100,000.

The the % of African-American deaths (8%)  was higher than their % of the population of the county (3.4%), these numbers suggest that opioids were less involved in the low life expectancy for African Americans.  However, they do suggest that they are involved in low numbers for Caucasians.  In Cambria County Caucasian life expectancy was 2.4 years lower than the US rate and 2.8 years less than the Pennsylvania rate.  The low life expectancy for African Americans appear to be driven by a high child mortality rate as seen in the table below.  Child mortality is different from infant mortality.  it refers to deaths after infancy.



Period
Cambria County YPLL Rate
2012-2014
2014-2016
2015-2017
Overall
8,397
8,602
10,335
Caucasian
8,424
9,671
African American
14,892
24,443
Child Mortality (dealths/100,000)
2012-2015
2013-2016
2014-2017
Overall
52
56.7
60
Caucasian
48.3
43
African American
171.5
253


YPLL stands for years of potential life lost for years lost before age 75.  For example, if someone dies at age 25 then they have 50 years of potential life lost.

`**Related Posts**

Cambria County African American Life Expectancy lags behind State and US

Santorum: No One Has Ever Died Because They Didn’t Have Health Care |The New Civil Rights Movement

Adjusting for Opioid OD Rates for PA Counties

2 comments:

  1. Paul

    Your analyses are always clear and informative. Your identifying infant mortality as the most significant factor in African American life expectancy is so important. It is tragic and unnecessary.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Bob. I must say that child mortality is different from infant mortality.

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