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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 2014, African Americans made up 12.7 percent of the national population.

  • The number of organ transplants performed on black Americans in 2015 was only 17% of the number of black Americans currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on white Americans was 31% of the number currently waiting.
  • While 29.8% of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are black American, they comprised 13.5% of organ donors in 2015.
  • In 2015, 73 percent of donor organs from African Americans were from deceased donors.
  • Although the total number of White Americans on organ transplant waiting lists is about 1.4 times greater than that of black Americans, the number of candidates waiting for a kidney transplant is almost the same between blacks and whites.
  • Black Americans have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure than white Americans. These conditions are known to put the patient 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
131,347
39,200
29.8%
55,224
42.0%
Kidney
107,973
36,058
33.6%
39,377
36.6%
Liver
15,021
1,207
8.0%
10,196
67.9%
Heart
4,145
1,070
25.8%
2,553
61.6%
Lung
1,446
155
10.7%
1,129
78.1%

Source: HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/*

 

Transplants Performed in the U.S. by Recipient Ethnicity, 2015

 
Number
% of total 2015 transplants
Black
6,755
21.8%
White
17,179
55.5%
Total Transplants
30,969
100%

Source: HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2015

Donor Type
# of all donors
# of Black donors
Black % of all donors
# of White donors
White % of all donors
Living
5,987
553
9.2%
4,197
70.1%
Deceased
9,079
1,476
16.3%
5,966
67.4%
Total
15,068
2,029
13.5%
10,163
67.4%

Source:  HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

* OPTN data is updated monthly. The OMHRC data & statistics for this section will be updated biannually.

Last Modified: 8/17/2016 11:02:00 AM