Beyond Net Worth: Racial Differences in Wealth Portfolios and Black-White Health Inequality across the Life Course.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A large body of research links wealth and health, but most previous work focuses on net worth. However, the assets and debts that comprise wealth likely relate to health in different and meaningful ways. Furthermore, racial differences in wealth portfolios may contribute to racial health gaps. Using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and mixed effects growth curve models, we examined the associations between various wealth components and multiple health outcomes. We also investigated whether black-white differences in wealth portfolios contributed to racial health inequality. We found that savings, stock ownership, and homeownership consistently improve health, but debt is associated with worse health, even after adjusting for total net worth. We found little evidence that home equity is associated with health. Findings also revealed differential health returns to assets by race. These findings provide new insights into the complex relationship among race, wealth, and health.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Boen, C; Keister, L; Aronson, B

Published Date

  • June 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 153 - 169

PubMed ID

  • 32447993

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8034808

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2150-6000

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1465

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022146520924811


  • eng