How people die in Hartford: Minorities live 17 fewer years than whites

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The median age of death for Hispanic residents in Hartford was 20 years younger than for white residents, according to data recently released by the city. For non-Hispanic blacks the gap with whites was 14 years.

TrendCT analyzed data that tracked deaths from 2008 to 2012 and found that the median age of death for non-Hispanic whites was 82 — the older end of the spectrum — but for Hispanic residents, it was 62. For Non-Hispanic blacks it was 68. For all non-whites, the median age of death was 17 years younger than for whites.

Median age of death in Hartford by ethnicity
Between 2008 and 2012
Ethnicity Median age Number of deaths Per 100 residents
Hispanic 62 1108 2.04
non-Hispanic black 68 1456 3.06
non-Hispanic white 82 1307 7.18
Other 72.5 102 3.44
City of Hartford. Rate based on Census 2013 ACS data.

The median age of death for Hispanics is a slight improvement — three years — when compared to 1999, but the gap with non-Hispanic whites remained identical. The median age of death rose two years for non-Hispanic blacks and three years for non-Hispanic whites, so the gap between those two groups increased by about a year.

Heart disease and cancer were the top two specific causes of death for Hartford residents. Between 2008 and 2012, the deaths of 940 people did not fit 15 pre-set categories such as liver disease, HIV, or unintentional injuries.

Leading causes of death in Hartford
Between 2008 and 2012
Category Frequency
Other unspecified 940
Heart disease 901
Cancer 819
Unintentional injuries 211
Stroke 169
Chronic lung disease 144
Kidney disease 116
Diabetes 106
Homicide 105
Pneumonia & Influenza 104
City of Hartford, US Census 2013 ACS

The top three causes of death are the same for all ethnicities, although they differ in their respective orders. Each group had a unique cause of death that showed up in the fourth through sixth spots.

  • For Hispanic residents, the unique cause was HIV, with 4 percent.
  • For non-Hispanic blacks, it was homicides, at 4.5 percent.
  • For whites, it was chronic lung disease, with 4.5 percent.
  • For other unspecified ethnicities, it was kidney and liver disease (4 percent).
Leading causes of death by ethnicity
Measuring percent of deaths within ethnic groups in Hartford, 2008-2012
Rank Hispanic non-Hispanic black non-Hispanic white Other
1 Other unspecified (26%) Heart disease (24%) Heart disease (26%) Other unspecified (29%)
2 Cancer (18%) Cancer (22%) Other unspecified (25%) Cancer (25%)
3 Heart disease (17.6%) Other unspecified (20%) Cancer (21%) Heart disease (20 %)
4 Unintentional injuries (8%) Stroke (5%) Chronic lung disease (4.5%) Stroke (4%)
5 HIV (4%) Unintentional injuries (4.5%) Stroke (4%) Kidney disease (4%)
6 Stroke (3.8%) Homicide (4.5%) Unintentional injury (4%) Liver disease (4%)
City of Hartford

Looking more closely at the data reveals some interesting trends:

  • In Hartford, white residents made up the highest percentage of deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease (48 percent), suicide (42 percent) and lung disease (40 percent).
  • Sixty-two percent of homicide victims were black.
  • Hispanic resident made up the largest percentage of deaths in Hartford related to HIV (46 percent), unintentional injuries (42 percent) and liver disease (43 percent).
  • Black residents had higher percentages of deaths in eight different categories, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, stroke, and septicemia (blood infection).

Next, we looked at causes of death by neighborhoods. The rates of death are based on the population of each neighborhood, and the percent of residents over the age of 65 was included to add context.

  • North Meadows had the least amount of deaths with only two in four years
  • North Meadows also had the lowest median age of death at 43 followed by Clay Arsenal at 59
  • South West had the highest rate of death related to Alzheimers with 1.59
  • Barry Square had the highest rate of death related to heart disease at 17.38
  • Blue Hills had the highest rate of death for cancer at 6.76
  • Barry Square had the highest rate of death related to homicides at 3.67

Men were most likely to die of heart disease, while women died more often of “other unspecified.” More men than women have died and thus outnumber women for most causes of death except Alzheimers, stroke, lung disease, septicemia, and diabetes. Below is a list of deaths by gender listed in order of percent disparity.

Deaths in Hartford by gender
Sorted by percent difference
Death categories Women Men Percent difference
Homicide 10 95 -161%
Suicide 6 39 -146%
Unintentional injuries 61 150 -84%
Alzheimer disease 37 15 84%
Atherosclerosis 2 5 -85%
Pneumonia & Influenza 45 59 -26%
Liver disease 29 38 -26%
HIV 42 53 -23%
Stroke 94 75 22%
Heart disease 421 480 -13%
Chronic lung disease 76 68 11%
Kidney disease 55 61 -10%
Other unspecified 493 446 10%
Cancer 392 427 -8%
Septicemia 48 44 8%
Diabetes 55 51 7%
Total 1866 2106 -12%
City of Hartford

What do you think?

  • Peter Morgan

    Tech question: of the final table, you say in the text that the final column is “percent disparity”, the column header is “Percent difference”, and I can’t see how to make 10, 95, for Homicide, e.g., lead to -161%. How is this column calculated?
    It seems that the “Causes of death in Hartford by ethnicity” might be beneficially presented in terms of deaths per thousand; the presentation as it is leaves me uncertain how different the relative populations of the four categories would make the data look.
    Not to take away from the headline that the median age of death is so different for the different populations.

    • Andrew Ba Tran

      Peter, I updated the ethnicity figures at the very top with these numbers I got from the Census 2013 ACS:

      White: 18,199 (so deaths per 100 is 2.04)
      Black: 47,587 (so deaths per 100 is 3.06)
      Hispanic: 54,314 (so deaths per 100 is 2.04)
      Other: 2,961 (so deaths per 100 is 3.44)

      Figures seem high but it’s five years worth of data. Let me know if you see anything amiss. Thanks for commenting.

  • Andrew Ba Tran

    Having login issues. Comment above was from me.

  • 00000000001

    The biggest distinction between whites and minorities, is the rate of smoking. Blacks and Hispanics would do good for themselves if they were not to smoke, reduce alcohol consumption and stop buying lottery tickets. With more money in your pockets, you’ll have less stress, too. More needs to be done to discourage young people to take up the smoking addiction, and with that, they will be more disciplined to do better.

    • If only they had more discipline like us white folks, right?


      • 00000000001

        No matter what spin you want to put upon me, it’s still excellent advice.