Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Health in Late Life

by James P. Smith, Raynard Kington


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This paper examines race and ethnic disparities in health outcomes among older Americans using two important new data sets — the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), and the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD). The paper's main sections are (1) the implications of the principal economic model that has been used to analyze health outcomes; (2) a description of racial differences in a variety of health outcomes; (3) a brief summary of the income and wealth health-gradients obtained from the data; (4) the racial and ethnic differences in health risk factors; (5) a summary of a series of empirical models of self-assessed health status.

Originally published in: Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Health of Older Americans, Linda G. Martin and Beth J. Soldo, eds., 1997, pp. 106-162.

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