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Men's Health America Special Report 

Previous MHA Special Reports have examined health disparities between men and women (1,2). But there is another gap that is often overlooked the disparities affecting African-American men. Unless indicated otherwise, all the numbers in this Special Report come from the DHHS publication, Health, United States, 2002 (3).

As of 1999, Black men had an average life expectancy of 67.8 years. 

By comparison, White women lived an average of 74.6 years, Black women lived 74.7 years, and White men had a life expectancy of 74.6 years.

Put another way, 145,703 Black males died in 1999, compared to 139,361 Black females. 

For every leading cause of death, Black men lag behind Black women (all numbers are rates per 100,000 population):



  Male Female

Limited Access to Health Care

One reason why Black men's health lags in comparison to others is that they have less access to services.  

Poor Black men are 6 times more likely to be uninsured as their White counterparts (4). 25% of Black males are uninsured, compared to 21.5% of Black females who lack health insurance. The main reason for this difference is Medicaid policies that favor custodial parents (usually women) over non-custodial fathers for insurance eligibility criteria. Likewise, Black men in the 18-64 year age group are less likely tosee a doctor in a given year than Black women of the same age (5).

On every measure, whether in comparison to Whites or to Black women, the health of Black men is in dire straits.


1. Men's Health America: Latest Health Statistics Point to Lifestyle Factors. January 31, 2003, Posting #668.

2. Men's Health America: Heart Disease: Major Disparities Still Exist. February 20, 2003, Posting #684.

3. National Center for Health Statistics: Health, United States, 2002. Hyattsville, MD, 2002.

4. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research: Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health. Rockville, MD: 1996, p. 9.

5. National Center for Health Statistics: Health, United States, 1998, Figure 43.

Page created on September 11th, 2003

Page updated on January 14th, 2010