Monday, April 27, 2009

US Human Development Indices

I was struck by this table of Human Development Index values for different groups in the US. It looks like three different countries when broken out this way! There is one group clustered at 7.5 (Asians), another around 5.5 (Whites) and another around 3.5 to 4 (Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans).

The indices are computed by this project, using US government data. See here for more, including a nice visualization with results by state, district, etc. Can the life expectancy of Native American and Latino women really be higher than for White women? Latino males also seem to have longer life expectancy than White males.

More on life expectancies of different regional and ethnic groups in the US here. (The researchers define 8 different Americas by race and geography or class.)

The gap between the life expectancy of the 3.4 million black males in high-risk urban areas in America 8 and the life expectancy for the 5.5 million Asian females in America 1 in 2001 was 20.7 y. Within the sexes, the gap between the best-off and the worst-off groups was 15.4 y for males (Asians versus blacks in high-risk urban areas) and 12.8 y for females (Asians versus low-income southern rural blacks). These gaps are 2.4 and 2.8 times those between white and black life expectancies for the nation as a whole for males and females, respectively. ...

The 12.8-y gap in life expectancy between females in Americas 1 and 7 is approximately the same as the gap between Japan, with the highest national life expectancy for females in 2001 (84.7 y), and Fiji, Nicaragua, and Lebanon [34]. Asian females in the US have a life expectancy that is 3 y higher than that of females in Japan [34]. For males, the 15.4-y gap in life expectancy between Asians (America 1) and high-risk urban blacks (America 8) is the same as between Iceland, with the highest national male life expectancy in 2001 (78.2 y), and Sao Tome, Belarus, and Uzbekistan [34]. In other words, millions of Americans, distinctly identified by their sociodemographic characteristics and place of residence, have life expectancies that are similar to some low-income developing countries (see also Figure 4B).


Ben017 said...

This seems consistent with the psychometric findings (although would be interesting to see how Ashkenazi Jews are doing as a group).

The lower half of that graph are the fastest growing part of the population? Of course no mainstream media or politicians can point this out?


106% of Asian females are enrolled in school?

Uncle Al said...

Black males: 15.5% BS/BA, 5.4% PhD/MD, $26,086/yr
Asian Females: 45.6% BS/BA, 16.0% PhD/MD, $26,138/yr
White males: 31.7% BS/BA, 12.1% PhD/MD, $37,269/yr


1) Yeah, let's look at Ashkenasic Jews. Bloody somebody must be pulling a decent annual income based upon objective intelligence.
2) Being an uneducated social excrescence or a Liberal puke - certainly after taxes - pays the same. The optimum career choice is then untaxed income: pimp, pusher, policeman, politician, mafioso, manager plus mordida; Welfare and Medicaid recipient.

Steve Hsu said...

I suspect you cannot directly compare male and female incomes because a smaller percentage of females are in the work force, they are more likely to take time off from their careers for children, work part time, etc.

BTW, let's leave anti-semitic (or anti- any particular group) comments to someone else's blog.

anon said...

What does "asian" mean here? Does it mean Mongoloid or does it include Indians, Persians, Malays, Arabs, Negritos, Melanesians, Australoids, etc.?

Paul said...

One interesting feature is the large education gap, but not income gap, between while males and asian males. This suggests the existence of other factors which need to be controlled for, as education is generally correlated with income.

I suspect the missing factor has to do with immigration. It would be very interesting to see what happens to the data when controlling for the national origin of ones parents, for example.

If my suspicion is correct, can one document a phenomenon of "HDI drain", presumably a manifestation of "brain drain"?

Steve Hsu said...

A large fraction of adult Asians in the US are recent immigrants and speak less than perfect English. This would definitely limit their earning potential.

anon said...

What the @#$% is an "Asian"?

Education is only correlated with income if it was a useful eduction. Plumbers make more than most English majors. This is also a big part of the geder gap in incomes. Women do not do engineering for example.

Ben017 said...

Some of the life expectancy figures seem to go against the findings of Gottfredson & Ian Deary regarding education & longevity? Basically that more educated people will lead healthier lifestyles & therefore live longer.

Here's an article from Dan Seligman in Forbes from 2004 discussing their research.

anon said...

The life expectancy for "Asians" is not credible. It is longer than Japan's and with an American diet and American diseases.

Statsquatch said...

The phenomenon that Hispanics have higher life expectancies than their SES or IQ would predict is called “the Hispanic Health Paradox.” Mark Watham posted a paper that theorized the paradox was due to the CHRM2 gene which is found in both East Asian and Hispanic populations at a higher rate than in Caucasian or African populations. (

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