The primary goal of this revision is to create a public use data set that will enable researchers to overcome the critical barrier to understanding long-run trends in the health of African Americans - lack of data. Over 85 percent of the requested funding is for the creation of a longitudinal data set of 21,000 African American recruits who served in the Union Army. These data provide an unusually rich source of health and socioeconomic information on the cohort of African Americans who reached age 65 circa 1910. Together with an extant sample of 6,000 men already created by this program project, the total sample of African American recruits will be 27,000. The overall analytical aims of this revision are: 1) Establish how this cohort of African Americans fared on a number of health measures, including co-morbidities, at older ages;2) Compare the health of this cohort of African Americans with the same cohort of white Americans to understand the extent of health disparities at the beginning of the twentieth century and to determine whether health insults left a permanent scar or led to the selection of the hardiest Individuals at late ages;3) Investigate how differences in exposure to infectious disease, differences in nutritional status, and socioeconomic differentials contributed to any observed health disparities at older ages;4) Investigate the relative importance of health insults at a young age, middle age, and at old ages, and the interactive effects of these health insults, to the health and mortality of this cohort of African Americans;5) Investigate how an unearned government income transfer affected how a very poor population (as was true of the African American cohort studied) coped with aging prior to the availability of a social security system. This revision will help fulfill the overarching purpose of the parent grant, which is to gain a more precise understanding of the trajectory of aging for the populations of the first third of twenty-first century that are longer-lived, more affluent, and more urban than their predecessors. It will accomplish this goal by building on the parent grant's incorporation of under-represented groups in the Union Army sample.

Public Health Relevance

This revision will provide evidence on how the shapes of mortality and health trajectories of African Americans evolved over time, during an era that was marked by diverse and rapidly changing ecological, economic, and social conditions. This revision can provide insights into future trends in life expectancy and in the health and disability of the elderly both in the US and in developing countries.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-1 (05))
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Phillips, John
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National Bureau of Economic Research
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Costa, Dora (2015) Health and the Economy in the United States, from 1750 to the Present. J Econ Lit 53:503-570
Lee, Chulhee (2015) Industrial Characteristics and Employment of Older Manufacturing Workers in the Early-Twentieth-Century United States. Soc Sci Hist 39:551-579
Costa, Dora L (2014) Leaders: Privilege, Sacrifice, Opportunity, and Personnel Economics in the American Civil War. J Law Econ Organ 30:437-462
Hong, Sok Chul (2013) Malaria: an early indicator of later disease and work level. J Health Econ 32:612-32
Fogel, Robert W; Cain, Louis; Burton, Joseph et al. (2013) Was what ail'd ya what kill'd ya? Econ Hum Biol 11:269-80
Costa, Dora L (2012) Scarring and mortality selection among Civil War POWs: a long-term mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic follow-up. Demography 49:1185-206
Bleakley, Hoyt; Lin, Jeffrey (2012) Portage and Path Dependence. Q J Econ 127:587-644
Bleakley, Hoyt; Lin, Jeffrey (2012) Thick-Market Effects and Churning in the Labor Market: Evidence from U.S. Cities. J Urban Econ 72:87-103
Lee, Chulhee (2012) Military Service and Economic Mobility: Evidence from the American Civil War. Explor Econ Hist 49:367-379
Costa, Dora L; Kahn, Matthew E (2010) Health, wartime stress, and unit cohesion: evidence from Union Army veterans. Demography 47:45-66

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