Racial disparities in life insurance coverage

Timothy F. Harris, Aaron Yelowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We evaluate the extent to which there are racial disparities in life insurance coverage using multiple years of the Survey of Income and Program Participation between 2001 and 2010. We find that African Americans hold significantly more life insurance–especially whole life insurance–after controlling for other factors. We demonstrate that our findings diverge from prior work because we examine all households instead of focusing exclusively on married and cohabitating households. Although earning shocks due to mortality likely contribute to racial disparities in wealth, the influence is mitigated by the racial composition of life insurance holdings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Life insurance
  • racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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