Objectives: This study examined trends in mortality by social class for Black and White men aged 35 through 54 years in North Carolina, for 1984 through 1993, using an inexpensive, newly developed state-based surveillance method.
Methods: Data from death certificates and census files permitted examination of four social classes, defined on the basis of occupation.
Results: Premature mortality was inversely associated with social class for both Blacks and Whites. Blacks were at least twice as likely to die as Whites within each social class.
Conclusions: Adoption of state-specific surveillance of social class and premature mortality would provide data crucial for developing and evaluating public health programs to reduce social inequalities in health.