Beyond black and white: Color and mortality in post-reconstruction era North Carolina

Tiffany L. Green, Tod G. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A growing empirical literature in economics and sociology documents the existence of more favorable social and economic outcomes among mixed-race blacks compared to non-mixed race blacks. However, few researchers consider whether the advantages associated with mixed-race status extend to mortality. To address this gap in the literature, we employ unique data from the 1880 North Carolina Mortality Census records in conjunction with data from 1880 U.S. Census of Population for North Carolina to examine whether mulatto (mixed-race) blacks experienced mortality advantages over to their colored (non-mixed race) counterparts from June 1879 to May 1880. For men between the ages of 20 and 44, estimates demonstrate that all black males, both mulatto and colored, were more likely than whites to die during the survey period. Although our results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in mortality between mulatto and colored black men, we find a substantial mortality advantage associated with mixed-race status among women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • History


  • J1 - Demographic Economics
  • J15 - Economics of Minorities and Races
  • N00 - Economic History


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