Large disparities in the rates of premature mortality across the socioeconomic spectrum are also clearly seen within each of the racial/ethnic populations.
For the African-American population, big differences in the causes and rates of premature mortality exist across the socioeconomic spectrum. Most strikingly, it is clear that homicide and premature birth disorders are primarily impacting the lowest socioeconomic group (SES 1). It is also notable that when looking at all of the racial/ethnic and socioeconomic cross-segments, African-Americans in SES 1-3 are the only group in which heart disease is a larger driver of premature mortality than cancer. The YPLL rate from heart disease is 85 percent higher for blacks in SES 1 vs. SES 4/5.
Methodology note: The SES index ranking was developed by Common Ground Health and calculated using a variety of socioeconomic indicators from the American Community Survey including average income, poverty rates, education levels, housing value, and homeownership. Each ZIP code is assigned a socioeconomic (SES) index ranking from 1 to 5. The lower SES ZIP codes tend to have lower average income, higher poverty rates, lower prevalence of college degrees, etc.
Methodology note: Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a widely used measure to assess the rate of premature mortality. YPLL places a larger weight on the deaths of younger people, in contrast with overall mortality statistics which are dominated by deaths of the elderly. The YPLL rates in Common Ground Health analyses are derived using 75 years as the baseline. A death at age 65 has YPLL of 10, where as a death at age 35 has a YPLL of 40. The rates are calculated per 100,000 population and are age-sex adjusted to account for differences in population distribution.