New York Economic Review


A Micro-Simulation Based Decomposition of the Health Status Gap Between US Blacks and Whites

Linda Dynan

vol. 39, Fall 2008, p. 3-27


It is well established that health status differs across racial subpopulations within the United States. Specifically, African Americans (black) live lives that are substantially shorter, on average, than those of their white neighbors. Moreover, blacks generally experience worse health outcomes than whites throughout their lifetimes.

This paper examines the contributions of differences between blacks and whites in specific health-enhancing and health-deterring behaviors to the difference in self-reported health status (and a constructed health status measure) of these two groups. Micro-simulation based decomposition analysis using data from the 2005 Center for Disease Control Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System demonstrates that in particular, black/white differences in physical activity have relatively large impacts on the measured health status gap between the two groups, yet black/white differences in socioeconomic and demographic characteristics remain dominant sources in accounting for the observed health status gap.


suggested citation:

Linda Dynan. "A Micro-Simulation Based Decomposition of the Health Status Gap Between US Blacks and Whites." New York Economic Review. vol. 39, Fall 2008, p. 3-27

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