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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 2018, African Americans made up 12.7 percent of the national population.

  • The number of organ transplants performed on Black/African Americans in 2019 was 25.8 percent of the number of Black/African Americans currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on white Americans was 47.6 percent of the number currently waiting.
  • While 28.7 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are Black/African Americans, they comprised 12.5 percent of organ donors in 2019.
  • In 2019, 74.5 percent of donor organs from Black/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/African Americans, the number of candidates waiting for a kidney transplant is almost the same between Black/African Americans and white Americans.
  • Black/African Americans 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 112,258 32,260 28.7 45,441 40.5
Kidney 94,458 30,029 31.8 33,680 35.7
Liver 12,647 932 7.4 8,497 67.2
Heart 3,686 1,034 28.1 2,140 58.1
Lung 1,309 179 13.7 918 70.1

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/*

 

Transplants Performed in the U.S. by Recipient Ethnicity, 2019
  Number Percentage of Total 2019 Transplants
Black 6,755 21.0
White 21,248 54.5
Total Transplants 39,718 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2019
Donor Type # of All Donors # of Black Donors Black % of All Donors # of White Donors White % of All Donors
Living 7,381 616 8.3 5,269 71.4
Deceased 11,870 1,798 15.1 7,784 65.6
Total 19,251 2,414 12.5 13,053 67.8

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2019
Donor Type # of Black Donors % of Black Donors # of White Donors % of White Donors
Living 616 25.5 5,269 40.4
Deceased 1,798 74.5 7,784 59.6
Total 2,414 100 13,053 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
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: 3/4/2020 8:55:00 AM