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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Organ Donation and African Americans

African Americans make up the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant. In 2019, blacks made up 12.8 percent of the national population.

  • The number of organ transplants performed on blacks in 2020 was 27.7 percent of the number of blacks currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on whites was 47.6 percent of the number currently waiting.
  • While 28.5 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are blacks, they comprised 12.9 percent of organ donors in 2020.
  • In 2020, 83.6 percent of donor organs from blacks were from deceased donors.
  • In 2020, 16.4 percent of blacks were living donors as compared to 33.4 percent of white living donors.
  • Although the total number of whites on organ transplant waiting lists is about 1.4 times greater than that of blacks, the number of candidates waiting for a kidney transplant is almost the same between blacks and whites.
  • Blacks have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than the white population. These conditions are known to put patients at risk for organ failures.

 

U.S. Transplant Waiting List – Candidates by Race/Ethnicity
Organ All Candidates # of Black Candidates Black % of All Candidates # of White Candidates White % of All Candidates
All Organs 106,666 30,421 28.5 43,054 40.4
Kidney 90,235 28,365 31.4 32,377 35.9
Liver 11,704 836 7.1 7,865 67.2
Heart 3,531 990 28.0 2,004 56.8
Lung 922 118 11.9 661 66.6

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of August 23, 2021.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/*

 

Transplants Performed in the U.S. by Recipient Ethnicity, 2020
  Number Percentage of Total 2020 Transplants
Black 8,414 21.6
White 20,997 53.8
Total Transplants 39,036 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of August 23, 2021.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2020
Donor Type # of All Donors # of Black Donors % of All Black Donors # of White Donors % of All White Donors
Living 5,729 390 6.8 4,129 72.1
Deceased 12,588 1,982 15.7 8,249 65.5
Total 18,317 2,372 12.9 12,378 67.6

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of August 23, 2021.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2020
Donor Type # of Black Donors % of All Black Donors # of White Donors % of All White Donors
Living 390 16.4 4,129 33.4
Deceased 1,982 83.6 8,249 66.6
Total 2,372 100 12,378 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of August 23, 2021.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

*OPTN data is updated monthly online. The data and statistics for this section will be updated annually.

Last Modified: 8/26/2021 4:40:00 PM