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Vanishing racial disparities in drowning in Florida
  1. Marina Mileo Gorsuch1,
  2. Samuel L Myers Jr.2,
  3. Yufeng Lai3,
  4. Devan Steward2,
  5. Rachel Motachwa4
  1. 1 Department of Economics and Political Science, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3 Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4 Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marina Mileo Gorsuch, Department of Economics and Political Science, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN 55105, USA; mmgorsuch952{at}stkate.edu

Abstract

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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Footnotes

  • Contributors MMG performed the final data analysis and wrote the manuscript. SLM conceptualised the project and oversaw all analyses and writing. YL, DS and RM collected the data, investigated prior literature and performed initial analysis of the data.

  • Funding We thank the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023NICHD) for funding this research through the Summer Diversity Program.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data is publicly available. We will freely provide the cleaned and merged data used in this paper along with the statistical program files to reproduce all results.

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