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Vanishing racial disparities in drowning in Florida


Objectives To examine the change in the racial disparity in drowning in Florida from 1970 to 2015 and to analyse the contextual factors associated with white, black and Hispanic drowning rates in Florida from 2007 to 2015.

Methods Our outcome variable is county-level annual drowning rates by race, ethnicity, sex and age group. We computed county-level contextual data, including emergency weather events, temperature, extreme weather, number of pools, quality of pools, coastline, swimming participation rates and prominent black competitive swim teams.

Results Between 1970 and 1990, the disparity in drowning rates between white and black males in Florida decreased dramatically. By 2005, the overall age-adjusted drowning rates converged. This convergence was most striking for those aged 10–34 and 35–64. While the gap has declined dramatically, there remains a racial disparity in drownings among those aged 10–34.

Conclusions Overall, racial disparities in drowning have disappeared in Florida. However, some disparities remain. There is a persistent disparity in drownings among those aged 10–34.

  • drowning
  • mortality
  • time series

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