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November 24, 1989

The Black American Elderly: Research on Psysical and Psychosocial Health

Author Affiliations

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York, NY

JAMA. 1989;262(20):2934-2935. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430200182052

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The growth of the American elderly population is hardly news, but the racespecific and culture-specific elements of aging and older populations are generally unappreciated. The black elder group is growing much faster than the whole elder population, by 45.6% vs 22.7% in the 15-year period ending in the year 2000.

Blacks tend to show more longevity than whites after age 75 to 80 years. In this age group, the black population will grow slightly faster than the white. Investigations of these oldest-old groups, white and black, may disclose differential aging processes not only among them but also within them.

Do blacks age differently from whites and others by birth cohort, early personal history, gender, socioeconomic status, health-seeking behavior, and physical and social environment? To what extent are interracial and intraracial differences in aging related to these factors?

These are among questions animating The Black American Elderly: Research on Physical and