Online Program

Trends in All-Cause Premature Deaths in Houston

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Monica Childers, PG, BS, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Research for Effectiveness, Houston Health Department, Houston, TX
Beverly Nichols, PsyD, MS, RN, Houston Department of Health & Human Services, City of Houston, Houston, TX
Deborah Banerjee, PhD, Houston Health Department, Houston Health Department, Houston, TX

Marked health disparities exist between racial/ethnic groups in Houston, Texas, as is true across the United States. One aspect of health disparities is premature death, as measured by the years of potential life lost (YPLL).

Previous work in Houston, using mortality data from 1999 to 2003, demonstrated elevated rates of YPLL in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Using more current data, from 2009 to 2010, this study aims to examine the changes and/or similarities in the spatial distribution of YPLL between those time periods.


Vital data from the Texas Department of State Health Services will be used for this study. Population data will be gathered from the 2010 Census as well as the American Community Survey. Years of potential life lost will be calculated for each individual who died before age 65. Rates of YPLL will be mapped at the neighborhood level and compared to previously calculated rates.


Results are anticipated to show continuing disparities between predominantly Black neighborhoods and their non-Black counterparts. Other work in the Houston area has suggested that life expectancy has risen among Blacks over the past two decades. Results of this study may indicate that, while premature death continues to disproportionately affect Black communities, its effect may be diminishing over time.


Discussion will address some of the underlying health conditions and circumstances that contribute to premature mortality in Houston, Texas, and recommendations for use of the results for informing policy discussion, planning, and interventions at the local level.

Learning Areas:


Learning Objectives:
Compare neighborhood level spatial patterns of premature death between two time points to demonstrate disparities between Black neighborhoods and their non-Black counterparts.

Keyword(s): Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the past 10 years, I have been the editor of the Houston/Harris County State of Health report, presenting multiple analyses of health in the local area, including mortality data (such as premature deaths) and trends. I am a Senior Analyst in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research for Effectiveness at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.