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Concept: White American


This paper documents a marked increase in the all-cause mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013. This change reversed decades of progress in mortality and was unique to the United States; no other rich country saw a similar turnaround. The midlife mortality reversal was confined to white non-Hispanics; black non-Hispanics and Hispanics at midlife, and those aged 65 and above in every racial and ethnic group, continued to see mortality rates fall. This increase for whites was largely accounted for by increasing death rates from drug and alcohol poisonings, suicide, and chronic liver diseases and cirrhosis. Although all education groups saw increases in mortality from suicide and poisonings, and an overall increase in external cause mortality, those with less education saw the most marked increases. Rising midlife mortality rates of white non-Hispanics were paralleled by increases in midlife morbidity. Self-reported declines in health, mental health, and ability to conduct activities of daily living, and increases in chronic pain and inability to work, as well as clinically measured deteriorations in liver function, all point to growing distress in this population. We comment on potential economic causes and consequences of this deterioration.

Concepts: Death, Mortality rate, United States, United Kingdom, Race, White American, White people, 21st century


We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychometric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,” prediction accuracy is close to the test-retest accuracy of a standard personality test. We give examples of associations between attributes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization and privacy.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, White American, Sexual orientation, African American, Neuroticism, Trait theory, Heterosexuality


A geographically-resolved, multi-level Bayesian model is used to analyze the data presented in the U.S. Police-Shooting Database (USPSD) in order to investigate the extent of racial bias in the shooting of American civilians by police officers in recent years. In contrast to previous work that relied on the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports that were constructed from self-reported cases of police-involved homicide, this data set is less likely to be biased by police reporting practices. County-specific relative risk outcomes of being shot by police are estimated as a function of the interaction of: 1) whether suspects/civilians were armed or unarmed, and 2) the race/ethnicity of the suspects/civilians. The results provide evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average. Furthermore, the results of multi-level modeling show that there exists significant heterogeneity across counties in the extent of racial bias in police shootings, with some counties showing relative risk ratios of 20 to 1 or more. Finally, analysis of police shooting data as a function of county-level predictors suggests that racial bias in police shootings is most likely to emerge in police departments in larger metropolitan counties with low median incomes and a sizable portion of black residents, especially when there is high financial inequality in that county. There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates.

Concepts: Scientific method, United States, Relative risk, Crime, White American, Police, Bayes factor, Constable


 To estimate differences in annual income of physicians in the United States by race and sex adjusted for characteristics of physicians and practices.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Race, White American, Household income in the United States, European American, Indigenous peoples of the Americas


Background For more than a decade, risk stratification for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been enhanced by targeted genetic testing. Using sequencing results, clinicians routinely assess the risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in a patient’s relatives and diagnose the condition in patients who have ambiguous clinical presentations. However, the benefits of genetic testing come with the risk that variants may be misclassified. Methods Using publicly accessible exome data, we identified variants that have previously been considered causal in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that are overrepresented in the general population. We studied these variants in diverse populations and reevaluated their initial ascertainments in the medical literature. We reviewed patient records at a leading genetic-testing laboratory for occurrences of these variants during the near-decade-long history of the laboratory. Results Multiple patients, all of whom were of African or unspecified ancestry, received positive reports, with variants misclassified as pathogenic on the basis of the understanding at the time of testing. Subsequently, all reported variants were recategorized as benign. The mutations that were most common in the general population were significantly more common among black Americans than among white Americans (P<0.001). Simulations showed that the inclusion of even small numbers of black Americans in control cohorts probably would have prevented these misclassifications. We identified methodologic shortcomings that contributed to these errors in the medical literature. Conclusions The misclassification of benign variants as pathogenic that we found in our study shows the need for sequencing the genomes of diverse populations, both in asymptomatic controls and the tested patient population. These results expand on current guidelines, which recommend the use of ancestry-matched controls to interpret variants. As additional populations of different ancestry backgrounds are sequenced, we expect variant reclassifications to increase, particularly for ancestry groups that have historically been less well studied. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).

Concepts: Genetics, United States, Sequence, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, White American, African American, European American, English American


Approximately 25% of individuals aged 65 years or older in the United States have diabetes mellitus. Diabetes rates in this age group are higher for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AA/PI) than for whites. We examined racial/ethnic differences in diabetes-related potentially preventable hospitalizations (DRPH) among people aged 65 years or older for Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Native Hawaiians, and whites.

Concepts: Hawaii, United States, White American, Pacific Ocean, Native Americans in the United States, Asian American, Native Hawaiians, Guam


The present work provides evidence that people assume a priori that Blacks feel less pain than do Whites. It also demonstrates that this bias is rooted in perceptions of status and the privilege (or hardship) status confers, not race per se. Archival data from the National Football League injury reports reveal that, relative to injured White players, injured Black players are deemed more likely to play in a subsequent game, possibly because people assume they feel less pain. Experiments 1-4 show that White and Black Americans-including registered nurses and nursing students-assume that Black people feel less pain than do White people. Finally, Experiments 5 and 6 provide evidence that this bias is rooted in perceptions of status, not race per se. Taken together, these data have important implications for understanding race-related biases and healthcare disparities.

Concepts: Black people, United Kingdom, Race, White American, White people, Racism, National Football League


Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among U.S. women (1). Compared with white women, black women historically have had lower rates of breast cancer incidence and, beginning in the 1980s, higher death rates (1). This report examines age-specific black-white disparities in breast cancer incidence during 1999-2013 and mortality during 2000-2014 in the United States using data from United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) (2). Overall rates of breast cancer incidence were similar, but death rates remained higher for black women compared with white women. During 1999-2013, breast cancer incidence decreased among white women but increased slightly among black women resulting in a similar average incidence at the end of the period. Breast cancer incidence trends differed by race and age, particularly from 1999 to 2004-2005, when rates decreased only among white women aged ≥50 years. Breast cancer death rates decreased significantly during 2000-2014, regardless of age with patterns varying by race. For women aged ≥50 years, death rates declined significantly faster among white women compared with black women; among women aged <50 years, breast cancer death rates decreased at the same rate among black and white women. Although some of molecular factors that lead to more aggressive breast cancer are known, a fuller understanding of the exact mechanisms might lead to more tailored interventions that could decrease mortality disparities. When combined with population-based approaches to increase knowledge of family history of cancer, increase physical activity, promote a healthy diet to maintain a healthy bodyweight, and increase screening for breast cancer, targeted treatment interventions could reduce racial disparities in breast cancer.

Concepts: Breast cancer, Death, United States, Black people, United Kingdom, Race, White American, White people


Women and African Americans-groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities-may be underrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided initial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had fewer female and African American PhDs. The present study seeks to replicate this initial finding with a different, and arguably more naturalistic, measure of the extent to which brilliance and genius are prized within a field. Specifically, we measured field-by-field variability in the emphasis on these intellectual qualities by tallying-with the use of a recently released online tool-the frequency of the words “brilliant” and “genius” in over 14 million reviews on, a popular website where students can write anonymous evaluations of their instructors. This simple word count predicted both women’s and African Americans' representation across the academic spectrum. That is, we found that fields in which the words “brilliant” and “genius” were used more frequently on also had fewer female and African American PhDs. Looking at an earlier stage in students' educational careers, we found that brilliance-focused fields also had fewer women and African Americans obtaining bachelor’s degrees. These relationships held even when accounting for field-specific averages on standardized mathematics assessments, as well as several competing hypotheses concerning group differences in representation. The fact that this naturalistic measure of a field’s focus on brilliance predicted the magnitude of its gender and race gaps speaks to the tight link between ability beliefs and diversity.

Concepts: Race, White American, Southern United States, Jim Crow laws, Democratic Party, Hip hop music


In this article, the American Cancer Society provides an overview of female breast cancer statistics in the United States, including data on incidence, mortality, survival, and screening. Approximately 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,290 breast cancer deaths are expected to occur among US women in 2015. Breast cancer incidence rates increased among non-Hispanic black (black) and Asian/Pacific Islander women and were stable among non-Hispanic white (white), Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native women from 2008 to 2012. Although white women have historically had higher incidence rates than black women, in 2012, the rates converged. Notably, during 2008 through 2012, incidence rates were significantly higher in black women compared with white women in 7 states, primarily located in the South. From 1989 to 2012, breast cancer death rates decreased by 36%, which translates to 249,000 breast cancer deaths averted in the United States over this period. This decrease in death rates was evident in all racial/ethnic groups except American Indians/Alaska Natives. However, the mortality disparity between black and white women nationwide has continued to widen; and, by 2012, death rates were 42% higher in black women than in white women. During 2003 through 2012, breast cancer death rates declined for white women in all 50 states; but, for black women, declines occurred in 27 of 30 states that had sufficient data to analyze trends. In 3 states (Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin), breast cancer death rates in black women were stable during 2003 through 2012. Widening racial disparities in breast cancer mortality are likely to continue, at least in the short term, in view of the increasing trends in breast cancer incidence rates in black women. CA Cancer J Clin 2015. © 2015 American Cancer Society.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, United States, Race, White American, White people, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Puerto Rico