Background Persistent racial/ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality are partially explained by healthcare access and socioeconomic, demographic, and behavioral factors. Little is known about the association between race/ethnicity-specific CVD mortality and county-level factors. Methods and Results Using 2017 county-level data, we studied the association between race/ethnicity-specific CVD age-adjusted mortality rate (AAMR) and county-level factors (demographics, census region, socioeconomics, CVD risk factors, and healthcare access). Univariate and multivariable linear regressions were used to estimate the association between these factors; R2 values were used to assess the factors that accounted for the greatest variation in CVD AAMR by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic/Latinx individuals). There were 659 740 CVD deaths among non-Hispanic White individuals in 2698 counties; 100 475 deaths among non-Hispanic Black individuals in 717 counties; and 49 493 deaths among Hispanic/Latinx individuals across 267 counties. Non-Hispanic Black individuals had the highest mean CVD AAMR (320.04 deaths per 100 000 individuals), whereas Hispanic/Latinx individuals had the lowest (168.42 deaths per 100 000 individuals). The highest CVD AAMRs across all racial/ethnic groups were observed in the South. In unadjusted analyses, the greatest variation (R2) in CVD AAMR was explained by physical inactivity for non-Hispanic White individuals (32.3%), median household income for non-Hispanic Black individuals (24.7%), and population size for Hispanic/Latinx individuals (28.4%). In multivariable regressions using county-level factor categories, the greatest variation in CVD AAMR was explained by CVD risk factors for non-Hispanic White individuals (35.3%), socioeconomic factors for non-Hispanic Black (25.8%), and demographic factors for Hispanic/Latinx individuals (34.9%). Conclusions The associations between race/ethnicity-specific age-adjusted CVD mortality and county-level factors differ significantly. Interventions to reduce disparities may benefit from being designed accordingly.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease mortality; disparities; race/ethnicity; social determinants.