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Minority Health: African-Americans in Wisconsin - Health Facts

Chronic Disease1

  • 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.
  • Cancer caused 22 percent of African American deaths in Wisconsin, and heart disease caused 21 percent.
  • African Americans in Wisconsin have higher rates of hospitalization and death from heart disease, compared to the total Wisconsin population.
  • In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from heart disease was 252 deaths per 100,000 population among African Americans, compared to 202 per 100,000 in the total Wisconsin population.
  • Both male and female African Americans have higher rates of heart disease mortality and hospitalization compared to their counterparts in the total population.


  • African Americans bear a disproportionate share of the burden of HIV/AIDS in Wisconsin. African Americans accounted for 37.3 percent of new cases of HIV infection in 2001-2005, while making up about 6 percent of the Wisconsin population.
  • During the 2001-2005 period, African Americans accounted for 31.7 percent of newly reported cases of HIV infection among males and 57.8 percent of new cases among females.
  • 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).
  • Health Risk Factors3
  • An estimated 29 percent of African American adults in Wisconsin smoke cigarettes, based on survey results for 2001-2005. This was significantly higher than the percentage who reported smoking in the total adult population (22%).
  • Blacks reported lower levels of alcohol use than the total population. For example, 16 percent of black adults reported binge drinking compared to 24 percent of the total adult population in Wisconsin; this difference was statistically significant.
  • African Americans were also more likely to be overweight or obese: 70 percent, compared to 60 percent of the total population.

Health Care 4

  • Based on Wisconsin Family Health Survey results for 2001-2005, African Americans were less likely than the total population to have health insurance at any given point in time. Eighty-seven percent of African Americans, compared with 93 percent of the total Wisconsin population, said they had some form of health insurance at the time of the survey interview.
  • Conversely, the percent reported to be uninsured at the time of the survey interview was higher among African Americans (13%) than in the total population (6%).
  • Another measure of health insurance coverage is coverage over the year preceding the survey interview (coverage over "the past year"). Eight percent of African Americans were uninsured for all of the past year; this is double the percentage uninsured all year in the total state population (4%).

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  1. Minority Health Report, 2001-2005.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.

Additional Information About African Americans in Wisconsin

Related links

Last revised March 24, 2022