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Brotherly Love: Health of Black Men and Boys in Philadelphia

Mar 14, 2019

This report uses data from various sources to examine  the impact of social and economic factors on health outcomes for black men and boys living in Philadelphia.

  • Life expectancy is lowest among Black men (69.1 years) compared to any other group – more than 5 years less than other men and 10 years less than women.
  • Poorer life expectancy among Black men is largely driven by more premature death from homicides, early cardiovascular disease, drug overdoses, cancer, and infant deaths.
  • Hypertension and related illnesses (e.g. kidney disease, heart attacks, strokes, etc.) impact Black men earlier and more often than other racial/ethnic groups. More than 40 percent of Black men have hypertension and nearly 1 in 3 have obesity.
  • School-aged Black boys have the lowest rates of obesity compared to other racial/ethnic groups.
  • Asthma is a significant source of morbidity for young Black boys, as hospitalizations for asthma are nearly 9 times higher compared to other groups. Asthma is a major cause of missed days of school, likely contributing to educational disparities.
  • Gun violence in Philadelphia disproportionately involves Black men — nearly 75% of all victims and known perpetrators are young Black men. Homicide is the leading cause of death for young Black men ages 15 to 34.
  • Health insurance coverage is at an all-time high; 9 in 10 Black adults have health insurance, and more than 96 percent of Black children have health insurance coverage.
  • Unemployment and poverty rates are declining, while high school, college, and graduate school graduation rates are increasing among Black men.