FIGURE 1-4 Death rates of racial and ethnic groups by underlying cause: Females 65 years and older, 1999.

SOURCE: Based on Anderson (2001).

In contrast to blacks, other minorities appear to be at lower risk than whites from any of the five leading causes. Only for the sixth leading cause—diabetes—do whites enjoy an advantage over Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. Except for diabetes, the Hispanic advantage is quite general (Markides et al., 1997; Rosenwaike, 1987; Sorlie et al., 1993) and extends to the other major causes of death and even to a residual category after the ten leading causes are accounted for.

The American Indian and Alaska Native advantage appears almost as consistent (except for diabetes, as noted, and nephritis among women and accidents among men), but is not as large, and it rests on weaker data. American Indians and Alaska Natives on reservations, however, have higher cause-specific death rates than American Indians and Alaska Natives more generally, and they are also at a disadvantage relative to whites for influenza and pneumonia. The death rate on reservations at age 65 and older from influenza and pneumonia is two-and-a-half times that for American Indians and Alaska Natives generally and twice that for whites (Indian Health Service, 1999).

Lastly, Asians have lower cause-specific death rates than whites for all

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