Sociology Colloquium: Arun Hendi

FEB 25, 2022 | 3:00 PM TO 5:00 PM



The Graduate Center


February 25, 2022: 3:00 PM-5:00 PM




Ph.D. Program in Sociology


Speaker: Arun Hendi, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University

"Where Does the Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Come From? The Deadly Effects of Residential Segregation"
In 2018, newborn black boys and girls could expect to live for 71 and 78 years, respectively. The last time white life expectancy levels were that low was in 1980, meaning that black life expectancy lags that of whites by nearly 4 decades. Despite this alarming and well-established disparity, relatively little is understood about the underlying mechanisms producing the black-white life expectancy gap. This study addresses one particular component of the gap by identifying where precisely the black-white gap comes from. I establish the geographic level of variation producing the black-white gap, pinpoint the specific counties that are contributing most to the national black-white gap, and examine the causes of death responsible for the disparity. I then use an instrumental variable design to identify the causal effect of black-white residential segregation on the black-white life expectancy gap. The preliminary results from this study suggest that longstanding differences in the lived experiences of blacks and whites, produced and reproduced in part by residential segregation, are driving much of the racial gap in longevity, acting primarily through mechanisms associated with health care quality and access, safety and violence, and deleterious health behaviors.