The Mortality Consequences of Distinctively Black Names

February 8, 2018

The Mortality Consequences of Distinctively Black Names

Trevon Logan

Back in the day, distinctively black names offered a real advantage

Numerous research has shown that people with distinctively black names are discriminated against in employment, education and healthcare scenarios. But this fascinating working paper from economic historians Lisa Cook, Trevon Logan and John Parman found that in the past, black men with obviously black names lived longer than other black men. The team examined over three million death certificates from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina issued between 1802 to 1970 and found a “robust within-race mortality difference,” which added more than one year of life to men with black-sounding names. Prepare to nerd out, their methodology is fascinating and their conclusions are still evolving. “Overall, the results suggests cultural factors may be at play in both the transmission of distinctively black names and their mortality effects,” they say.


Courtesy: NBER