Thesis Statement

Although the social justice policies focus on eliminating socioeconomic and health disparities, high mortality rates among African-Americans living in impoverished urban areas still exist due to socioeconomic disadvantage, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and unintentional injuries.

Short Summary

High mortality rates among African-Americans persist in America due to socioeconomic disadvantage. Blacks are disproportionately affected by the social determinants of health. The paper discusses the socioeconomic disadvantage and its influence on the social determinants of health and the leading causes of mortality among African-Americans in the USA. Socioeconomic disadvantage implies that blacks have the poorest health relative to whites. Most of these disparities are based on systemic racism, leading to unequal distribution and access to health resources. African Americans have reduced access to health services, are provided with low-quality care, lack insurance coverage, live in segregated houses, have high violence and drug rates, and are exposed to environmental pollution. These factors subject blacks to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and unintentional injuries. High mortality rates among African Americans could be explained from a psychological perspective whereby socioeconomic stressors increase psychopathology risk. A sociological perspective on morality would focus on the effect of structural discrimination and the resulting inequality on mortality rates.

How the Sources are Used

Arias, E., Tejada-Vera, B., Ahmad, F., & Kochanek, K. D. (2021). Provisional life expectancy estimates for 2020.

The source contains information about the life expectancy in the U.S. It is used to explain the life expaectancy in the U.S. and the life expectancy of Blacks between 2019 and 2020.

Avendano, M., & Kawachi, I. (2014). Why do Americans have a shorter life expectancy and worse health than people in other high-income countries?. Annual review of public health35, 307-325.

The source explains the causes of reduced life expectancy in America. It is used in the paper to briefly compare life expectancy in the U.S. and other OECD countries. The source also sheds insights into the existing socioeconomic inequalities and healthcare disparities in America.

Carnethon, M. R., Pu, J., Howard, G., Albert, M. A., Anderson, C. A., Bertoni, A. G., … & Yancy, C. W. (2017). Cardiovascular health in African Americans: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation136(21), e393-e423.

The source explains cardiovascular diseases that are the leading cause of African-American mortality rates. It is used to describe coronary heart diseases and stroke.

DeSantis, C. E., Miller, K. D., Goding Sauer, A., Jemal, A., & Siegel, R. L. (2019). Cancer statistics for African Americans, 2019. CA: a cancer journal for clinicians69(3), 211-233.

The source contains recent statistics about African Americans’ cancer rates. It is used to explain the prevalence of prostate and breast cancer among black men and women, respectively.

Ely, D. M., & Driscoll, A. K. (2021). Infant Mortality in the United States, 2019: Data From the Period Linked Birth/Infant Death File. National Vital Statistics Reports: From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System70(14), 1-18.

The authors explains the causes of high infant mortality rates among Americans. It sheds insights into the infant and neonatal mortality rate across races. The source is used to compare African American infant mortality to other races.

Ferdows, N. B., Aranda, M. P., Baldwin, J. A., Ferdows, S. B., Ahluwalia, J. S., & Kumar, A. (2020). Assessment of racial disparities in mortality rates among older adults living in U.S. rural vs urban counties from 1968 to 2016. JAMA network open3(8), e2012241-e2012241.


The authors explore mortality disparities among different ethnic groups living in rural and urban areas in the U.S. The source explains the mortality rates among blacks living in urban areas.

Hedegaard, H., Miniño, A. M., & Warner, M. (2019). Urban-rural differences in drug overdose death rates, sex, age, and type of drugs involved, 2017.

The source contains data about drug overdose rates across different populations. It explains the effects of a drug overdose on unintentional injuries among African Americans.

Mensah, G. A. (2018). Cardiovascular diseases in African Americans: fostering community partnerships to stem the tide. American Journal of Kidney Diseases72(5), S37-S42.

The source contains information about the burden of CVD on African Americans. It is used to provide recent data about CVD trends among African Americans.

Noonan, A. S., Velasco-Mondragon, H. E., & Wagner, F. A. (2016). Improving the health of African Americans in the USA: an overdue opportunity for social justice. Public health reviews37(1), 1-20.

The source explains the overall health of African Americans. It is used in the paper to explain the socioeconomic disadvantage of African Americans’ health. It explains the social determinants of health and their effects on high mortality rates.

Novoa, C., & Taylor, J. (2018). Exploring African Americans’ high maternal and infant death rates. Center for American Progress1.

The source is used in the paper to explain the causes of high infant and maternal rates among African American women.

Small, M. J., Allen, T. K., & Brown, H. L. (2017, August). Global disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality. In Seminars in perinatology (Vol. 41, No. 5, pp. 318-322). WB Saunders.

 The source is used to explain high African American mortality rates during the atlantic slave trade.

Woolf, S. H., Chapman, D. A., Sabo, R. T., Weinberger, D. M., Hill, L., & Taylor, D. D. (2020). Excess deaths from COVID-19 and other causes, March-July 2020. Jama324(15), 1562-1564.

The source explores the trends in excess mortality rates in America. The source explains excess mortality rates in the U.S.