Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
The racial patterning of socioeconomic status (SES) in the U.S. is a key determinant of racial health disparities, yet critical questions about the role of SES in producing racial health inequality remain. This study examines how various socioeconomic factors--including wealth, duration spent in economic advantage or deprivation, and differential returns to SES--contribute to racial health inequality across the life course. Findings show that, net of income and education, wealth and duration of exposure to economic advantage or deprivation are significant contributors to the Black-White health gap. I also find that Blacks receive fewer health returns to increases in education than Whites, which contributes to the divergence of the health gap with age. These findings suggest that failure to consider wealth, duration of exposure to economic conditions, and differential returns to SES in studies of racial health disparities can result in the residual confounding of race and SES.