Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Suggests Racial Discrimination Harms Health

September 9, 2005
University of California - Irvine
In the first national study of its kind, a UC Irvine sociologist finds that black immigrants who arrive in America from black-majority regions of the world are healthier than those from white-majority regions; still, regardless of how healthy black immigrants are when they come to the U.S., the longer they stay, the more their health erodes. The findings suggest racial discrimination is a major cause of poor health for American blacks -- native and foreign born alike.

Related Articles

UCI’s Jen’nan Ghazal Read and RiceUniversity’s Michael O. Emerson examined the health of more than 2,900black immigrants coming from the top regions of emigration: the WestIndies, Africa, South America and Europe. Compared to U.S.-born blacks,those born in Europe – a majority-white region that most closelyresembles the U.S.’s racial structure – are the least healthy, faringno better than American-born blacks. Blacks born in Africa and SouthAmerica, where whites are the minority, are much healthier thanU.S.-born blacks. Those born in the West Indies, a racially mixedregion, are healthier than U.S.-born blacks, but less healthy thanthose from black-majority regions. According to Read, racial minoritiesare exposed to more stressful life events caused by discrimination.Stress, a key risk factor for many ailments, accumulates over the lifecourse to harm health.

The study, published in the Septemberissue of Social Forces, is the first to look at the health of blackimmigrants by their region of origin. Prior to 2000, national-levelhealth data combined all black immigrants into a single category, whichobscured the differences among them. This study shows the value ofbreaking them out as individual groups by their home region.

"Thesefindings do not bode well for the persistent black/white health gap inAmerica," said Read, an assistant professor of sociology and leadauthor of the study. "Any health advantage that black immigrants havewhen they arrive is lost as they, and then their children, blend intoAmerica’s racial landscape and suffer the consequences of being blackin the United States."

Read said she was somewhat surprised tofind that European-born blacks’ health was more similar toAmerican-born blacks than other black immigrants. Previous studies haveshown that immigrants are generally healthier than their U.S.counterparts when they come to America, primarily because of theselective nature of immigration: those who immigrate are in good healthand/or have the financial resources to make such a move. "Europeancountries have a much higher standard of living than African and theWest Indian countries – higher incomes and employment rates, betterhealth care and extended vacation time," Read said. "At the same time,the racial dynamics in many European countries are similar to those inthe U.S., and we know from studies here that blacks are exposed to morestressful life events that have negative consequences for both theirmental and physical well-being."

Read explains that although thisstudy does not provide the definitive explanation for the black/whitehealth gap in America, it encourages researchers and policy makers totake a much harder look at how racial discrimination harms health.

Theresearchers looked at three measures to assess peoples’ health:self-rated health, disability and hypertension. Their primary data camefrom the 2000-02 National Health Interview Surveys, which are conductedby the National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, and included a question on region of birth forthe first time in 2000. Additional data for the study came from theU.S. Census Bureau, the Office of Immigration Statistics and the CIA’sWorld Factbook.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Study Suggests Racial Discrimination Harms Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909074111.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2005, September 9). Study Suggests Racial Discrimination Harms Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909074111.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Study Suggests Racial Discrimination Harms Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909074111.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins