Cause of Death Inequality

Cause of Death Inequality

Paula Rothenberg’s in the book ‘Race, Class, and Gender in the United States’ demonstrates the innumerable approaches of how race, class, and gender of an individual affects virtually each and every feature of life ranging from private interests to economic prosperity. Analyzing the “Social Construction of Difference,” Rothenberg examines topics like the history and effects of prejudice on those who experience it and techniques of stamping out inequity. This seventh edition is spiced up with recent statistical data, up to date articles and a long-drawn-out segment on “Discrimination in Everyday Life.” To analyze inequity, Rothenberg uses academic analysis, government documents, legal reports and first-person remarks. She attempts to purge concepts that “whiteness” does not bestow freedom, notions that women no longer undergo chauvinism, that ethnic group associations in the United States is direct and that class in America is exclusively alterable. Rothenberg’s extent of resource material upholds her thesis and renders it reliable.

Social inequality is a major pressing cause of death, be it chronic or accidental injury. A small number of the Major causes of death are equal opportunity killers. The poor people tend to be more stricken than the rich, the less knowledgeable more than the highly well-informed, people low on the professional ladder more than those high up, or blacks more than white people. Figures on mortality and life expectancy provide minimal illustration of social inequality. For instance, life expectancy for women in U.S. is approximately six years longer than one for men, notwithstanding the many ways in which women are perceived to inferior to men.

Men below twelve years of learning are more than two times prone to death due chronic diseases, thrice likely to circum to an injury, and twice likely to die of infectious diseases, judged against those with more years of education. Women with incomes lower than $10,000 are more than three times likely to die of chronic disease judged against those with family incomes above $20,000. African Americans are more likely to die of heart attacks, colon, prostate, and breast cancer, diabetes; AIDS and accidental injury than whites. The lesser you are in a social hierarchy, the shorter your life span. Rothenberg advises that unequal income distribution in a state reduces the life expectancies for persons regardless of their respective income levels. U.S. urban areas with low per capita incomes happen to have lower mortality rates than areas with high levels of income inequality. As inequality declines, per capita income mortality rates also reduces.

Health inequality in the U.S. is not just a matter of access to health care. Almost sixteen percent of the U.S. inhabitants lack health insurance. A less privileged adult with a physical condition is half likely to obtain medical attention as the rich counterpart. Other factors include environmental hazards, murder, contagious diseases, smoking, alcoholism and lack of exercise. These risks tend to impinge on less privileged people than wealthy people, less-educated people than the learned, and blacks than whites. African-American kids are twice as more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than the white children. The less schooling someone has, the more likely they are to smoke heavily. Rothenberg notes that disorders like heart disease which is associated with high-calorie content in food and short of physical activity, are most rampant among the Ieast well to do people in wealthy societies. Acknowledging the position of such behavioral risk factors as smoking in creating poor health, Rothenberg argues that it is not adequate to solicit the contribution smoking makes towards breeding ill health, but we ask ourselves why social incline in smoking exists.




Poor people in rich countries like the U.S. are regarded rich in third world countries. It takes more proceeds to attain a given life expectancy in a country like America than it does in a less heeled country. Therefore, a superior money income of a low-income individual in the U.S., judged against a middle-income person in a third world country, essentially does not decipher into a longer life span. The standard income per individual in African-American families is five times more than the per capita income of a family in a third world state.

Many a times, women try to organize themselves into self help groups. However, women of color are frequently accorded different treatment from the white. This does not mean that they are of less importance. If all women are treated the same way, reduction to the levels of inequality in terms of race and gender will be experienced. In the book researches are being made to show that the level of high blood pressure is more rampant in African Americans than in whites thus their life expectancy is lower. High blood pressure starts early in life in African Americans as compared to the whites thus out of the population that dies due to high blood pressure the highest percentage is African Americans. The book shows what studies depict about this case. African Americans have a higher mortality level than the whites when it comes to certain diseases.

Stresses have a trickle down effect on social hierarchies and mount up among the least empowered. There is a sharp swell in mortality with every stride down the job hierarchy. Workforce in the lowest grade is three times likely to die compared to those in the highest grade. People in lower grades reveals a more occurrence of “lifestyle” risk factors, akin to smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet.

Unemployment considerably boosts the risk to death by almost 50%. Analyzing cause of specific mortality, Rothenberg illustrates that unemployment radically increases the risk of suicide cases and death by other diseases. She excludes cancer, cardiovascular or deaths due to accidents and murder. One of the leading features affecting the health condition of most developed nations is the social gradient in health. Rothenberg tackles this topic as a predicament of poor health for the underprivileged and good health for the rich. This technique of approaching this issue is insufficient to pose a base of argument. Amongst the rich, there is a social gradient in mortality that forms a bottom to the top hierarchy in each human race. Populace in each socio-economic group has poorer health than those higher than them in the hierarchy. In quest to comprehend basis for the social gradient it is important to make two annotations. Foremost, it is valid in other social animals. The lesser the position the elevated the disease risk and the shorter the lifetime. Next, it is valid to several societies during different time periods.

Mounting substantiation advocates that a key determinant of population enjoyed by the poor is the health allotment of income plus the absolute standard of living. The gap between the rich and the poor leads to higher mortality through the collapse of social consistency. Current surge in income inequality has been accompanied by an increase in the housing deliberation of poverty and material comfort. Residential isolation lessens the support for social cohesion. Income inequality leads to increased rates of transgression and aggression, hampered productivity, and crippled performance of democracy. The degree of inequality in the society is habitually as a result of overt policies. Reduction in income inequality presents the outlook of better social cohesiveness and population health.

In time of war, contraction of income discrepancy is normally accompanied by sense of solidarity, social cohesion and remarkable enhancement of life expectancy. Ensuing collapse of community cohesion is normally followed by a sharp increase in deaths.

The book helps us to understand some medical truths such as that of high blood pressure many people may not be aware of this thus that’s why the book is a good read for them. When you read the book in perspective you find that mostly it helps us understand the disparities that are there between men and women, different races in our country and how our economy affects income distribution which leads to different types of inequalities (Rothenberg, 2006). The author of the book tries to come up with different causes of death inequality in the book in the book and also tries to educate people on different issues facing our country which may not be in the public eye but may be hidden by many factors. In my opinion the author was able to enlighten us out of our ignorance because we find out that most Americans today think that racisms is outdated.

It is not an outdated practice because wherever we go it is present. It may not be rampant as it used to be but still it is in existence for example though we have become marginalized we find that there are divisions in the income levels of most whites and African Americans. We may have an African American president but we still find that most African Americans are still living in projects which depict low income levels. These are the same people who cannot be able to access quality medical care increasing their mortality levels. They may also face discriminations in work places where they will not get promotions because of their skin color.

Race, class and gender as depicted Rothenberg have made a significant contribution to help ease understanding of causes of death inequality. Poverty is connected to higher mortality rates across all ages. Income inequality is to blame for higher death rates, as well as crime and poor learning outcomes. Economic fluctuations occur too swiftly and severely to be accredited to personality changes. It is reasonable to characterize these economic adjustments to changes in economic policy.



Rothenberg, P. S. (2006). Race, class, and gender in the United States: an integrated study. New York, NY: Worth Publishers




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