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Key Findings for African Americans:



• African Americans are the largest racial/ethnic minority group in Wisconsin, and constitute 5.6 percent of the Wisconsin population in 2000.  In 2005, African
Americans were estimated to number 341,258 of the 5,581,839 residents of

• African Americans are a younger population than Wisconsin as a whole, with a
median age of 25.  A younger median age means larger proportions of children
and young adults, and a lower proportion of older adults, than the state as a whole.

• In 2000, the rate of poverty among African Americans in Wisconsin was 32%, nearly four times greater than the poverty rate in the total state population (8.7%).  The 2010 census revealed that Wisconsin is home to the fourth highest poverty rate in the nation.  A UWM survey put the Black male unemployment rate a 55.8%.

• Nearly 42 percent of black children in Wisconsin were living in poverty in 2000.


• In 2001-2005, African Americans accounted for 37.3 percent of new HIV
infections in Wisconsin, while making up about 6 percent of the state’s population.  The rate of new HIV infections in African Americans (34.1 cases per 100,000 population) was eleven times the rate in whites (3.0 per 100,000).

• For the years 2001-2005, African Americans accounted for 31.8 percent of
reported Chlamydia cases, 51.2 percent of reported gonorrhea cases, and 45
percent of reported syphilis cases in Wisconsin.


• In 2001-2005, African Americans were less likely to have visited a dentist recently:   61 percent of African Americans had seen a dentist in the past year, compared to 73 percent of all Wisconsin residents.



• In 2005, the low birthweight rate among babies born to African American mothers in Wisconsin was 13.7 percent, nearly twice the rate for all Wisconsin births (7.0%).  Low birthweight means a weight of less than 5.5 pounds or 2,500 grams at birth.

• Other risks occurring at higher rates among African American births include the percent of births to teenagers (23%), and the percent of births to women who have not graduated from high school (35%).

• During 2003-2005, the infant mortality rate among African American babies was 16.5 deaths per 1,000 births.  This was higher than the total infant mortality rate for Wisconsin during those years (6.4) and higher than the African American infant mortality rate in 1992-1994 (14.5).


• Based on age-adjusted total death rates (all causes combined), African Americans

have a higher rate of death than the total state population after taking differences
in population age structure into account.

• During the years 2001-2005, the five leading causes of death among African
Americans in Wisconsin were cancer, heart disease, unintentional injury, stroke,
and homicide.  
Causes of death with the largest disparities, where the age-adjusted mortality rate among African Americans was at least twice the white rate, were diabetes (2.3 times the white rate) and homicide (14.7 times the white rate).


• An estimated 13 percent of African Americans in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with asthma; this is higher than the statewide percentage (9 percent).

• In 2005, 3.4 percent of Wisconsin children tested had elevated levels of lead in
their blood.  The proportion was higher among African American children tested


• An estimated 29 percent of African American adults in Wisconsin smoke
cigarettes, based on 2001-2005 survey results.  This is higher than in the general
Wisconsin population (22%).

• Binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) occurred at a lower rate
among African Americans in Wisconsin (16%) than in the total adult population
of the state (24%).

• In 2001-2005, 59 percent of African Americans said they were physically inactive
in the past month, compared to 45 percent of all Wisconsin adults.  

• African Americans were also more likely to be overweight or obese:  70 percent,
compared to 60 percent of the total population.



• In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from heart disease was 252 deaths
per 100,000 population among African Americans, higher than the rate in the total
Wisconsin population (202).   Heart disease hospitalization rates were also higher
for African Americans.

• Age-adjusted mortality and hospitalization rates for cancer were higher in the
African American population than the total Wisconsin population.  The African
American cancer mortality rate was 248 deaths per 100,000 population, compared
to 184 per 100,000 in Wisconsin as a whole.

• Stroke death and hospitalization rates were higher in the African American
population compared to the total state population.  In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted
mortality rate from stroke was 68 deaths per 100,000 among African Americans,
and 53 per 100,000 among all Wisconsin residents.

• Diabetes deaths and hospitalizations also occurred at higher rates in the African
American population.  The age-adjusted mortality rate from diabetes was 49
deaths per 100,000 among African Americans, and 22 per 100,000 in the total
state population.  The age-adjusted rate of diabetes hospitalizations was 445 per
100,000 in the African American population, more than three times the rate in the
total state population (125 per 100,000).


• In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate for unintentional injuries (such as
car crashes, falls, fires, and drowning) was 41 deaths per 100,000 population
among African Americans, and 39 per 100,000 among the total Wisconsin


• In 2001-2005, the percent of people without health insurance at any point in time
was more than twice as high among African Americans (13%) than in the total
Wisconsin population (6%).

• Among women age 50 and older, the percentage who received a mammogram in
the past year was higher among African American women (76%) than among all
Wisconsin women (67%).  Rates of other kinds of screening (cholesterol, Pap
smear, clinical breast exam) were similar between the African American and total
Wisconsin populations.  
While African Americans and Hispanics represented only 26 percent of the U.S. population in 2001, they accounted for 66 percent of adult AIDS cases and 82 percent of pediatric AIDS cases reported in the first half of that year.6

Groups facing health disparities are more
likely to view their health status negatively,
reflecting the impact of health disparities on
quality of life.  Nearly 13 percent of Latinos
and 14 percent of African Americans consid-
ered themselves to be in fair or poor health in 2000 compared with 8 percent of whites.)

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