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Race and Organ Donation

Gift of Life is committed to providing knowledge and resources to community members to make sure everyone is informed about correct organ and tissue donation information.

Learn more below on what you need to know about race and organ donation.

Gift of Life Donor Program and rapper Freeway promote organ donor awareness with radio partner Power 99.
Closing the Donation Gap

Although organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving one if there are large numbers of donors from their racial/ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor/recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. A greater diversity of donors may potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.

Patients from communities of color make up more than half – 58% – of the national waiting list for a life-saving transplant.

Organ Donation among African Americans
  • African Americans represent 40% of people waiting for organ transplants at transplant centers in Gift of Life’s service region, which includes Delaware, the eastern half of Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
  • African Americans represent 14% of deceased donors and 12% of living donors in the U.S. to date (1987-present, based on electronically available data via OPTN).
  • Of the 2,026 African Americans waiting for transplants in Gift of Life’s service region, 934 are waiting for kidney transplants.
  • In the 25-44 year-old age group, the rate of African Americans who have kidney failure caused by high blood pressure is 20 times higher than Caucasians.

Organ Donation among Asians
  • There are more than 9,000* Asian candidates on the national transplant waiting list.
  • On the national transplant waiting list for kidneys, 8,500 candidates are Asian.
  • In 2018, 2,076 Asian transplant candidates received a life saving transplant (1,676 deceased donors and 400 from living donors)

*9,293 as of July 15, 2019


Organ Donation among Hispanics
  • Hispanics represent 20% of patients on the national transplant waiting list, most waiting for kidneys.
  • Hispanics represent 8% of people waiting for organ transplants in Gift of Life’s service region, which includes Delaware, the eastern half of Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
  • There are more than 22,900** Hispanics on the organ transplant waiting list.
  • Hispanics, like other minorities, are three times more likely than Caucasians to suffer from end stage renal disease and diabetes.

**22,971 as of July 15, 2019

*All data based on OPTN data as of July 2019.