Disparities in Cardiovascular Mortality between Black and White Adults in the United States, 1999 to 2019

Ashley N. Kyalwazi, Eméfah C. Loccoh, Laprincess C. Brewer, Elizabeth O. Ofili, Jiaman Xu, Yang Song, Karen E. Joynt Maddox, Robert W. Yeh, Rishi K. Wadhera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Black adults experience a disproportionately higher burden of cardiovascular risk factors and disease in comparison with White adults in the United States. Less is known about how sex-based disparities in cardiovascular mortality between these groups have changed on a national scale over the past 20 years, particularly across geographic determinants of health and residential racial segregation. Methods: We used CDC WONDER (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research) to identify Black and White adults age ≥25 years in the United States from 1999 to 2019. We calculated annual age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rates (per 100 000) for Black and White women and men, as well as absolute rate differences and rate ratios to compare the mortality gap between these groups. We also examined patterns by US census region, rural versus urban residence, and degree of neighborhood segregation. Results: From 1999 to 2019, age-adjusted mortality rates declined overall for both Black and White adults. There was a decline in age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality among Black (602.1 to 351.8 per 100 000 population) and White women (447.0 to 267.5), and the absolute rate difference (ARD) between these groups decreased over time (1999: ARD, 155.1 [95% CI, 149.9-160.3]; 2019: ARD, 84.3 [95% CI, 81.2-87.4]). These patterns were similar for Black (824.1 to 526.3 per 100 000) and White men (637.5 to 396.0; 1999: ARD, 186.6 [95% CI, 178.6-194.6]; 2019: ARD, 130.3 [95% CI, 125.6-135.0]). Despite this progress, cardiovascular mortality in 2019 was higher for Black women (rate ratio, 1.32 [95% CI, 1.30-1.33]) - especially in the younger (age <65 years) subgroup (rate ratio, 2.28 [95% CI, 2.23-2.32]) - as well as for Black men (rate ratio, 1.33 [95% CI, 1.32-1.34]), compared with their respective White counterparts. There was regional variation in cardiovascular mortality patterns, and the Black-White gap differed across rural and urban areas. Cardiovascular mortality rates among Black women and men were consistently higher in communities with high levels of racial segregation compared with those with low to moderate levels. Conclusions: During the past 2 decades, age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality declined significantly for Black and White adults in the United States, as did the absolute difference in death rates between these groups. Despite this progress, Black women and men continue to experience higher cardiovascular mortality rates than their White counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-228
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 19 2022


  • Black adults
  • White adults
  • cardiovascular mortality
  • racial disparities
  • racial segregation
  • rural
  • sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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