Do Educational Experiences Contribute to Black-White Differences in CVD-Related Mortality?

Digital Illustration of anatomical heart in chest

Though racial and educational disparities in CVD-related mortality are well-documented, prior research reveals counterintuitive findings regarding racial differences in the protective nature of education. Drawing insights from fundamental cause theory and the Black diminishing returns hypothesis, we investigate the educational sources of racial disparities in CVD-related mortality risk. We use data from High School & Beyond, a nationally representative sample of individuals born 1961-1965 with rich measures of education, to analyze whether and how early life educational contexts and opportunities are associated with CVD-related mortality. Preliminary results reveal educational attainment and other early life educational factors do not explain Black Americans’ heightened risk for CVD-related mortality compared to their White counterparts. Rather, the education-mortality gradient is weaker for Black Americans, suggesting their returns to education are lower. Study results suggest further research is needed to elucidate processes contributing to why educational attainment is less health protective for Black Americans.

Christy Erving, University of Texas; Emily Lybbert, University of Texas; Chandra Muller, University of Texas; Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin; John Robert Warren, University of Minnesota

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Columbus, Ohio, USA