The COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on the disproportionately high number of deaths in the Black community. You may have heard about the wealth gap, but have you heard about the wealth-health gap?
According to the NY Times 1619 Project, “racial health disparities are as foundational as democracy itself.” Socioeconomic status and institutional racism lead to disparities across living conditions, limit access to quality health care and contribute to chronic stress. These factors lead to shorter life spans and higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes for people living in poverty and people of color.
Health care costs also make up a significant portion of a household’s annual budget, placing additional stress on families that may not have insurance and access to quality medical care.
Compounding these factors that worsen health outcomes for people of color, Black Americans are much less likely to trust their healthcare providers and healthcare institutions. North Carolina’s Eugenics Program sterilized over 7,000 men and women and was designed to “breed out” nonworking Black residents.
Did You Know?
- Only 18% of Blacks and 27% of Latinx could not see a doctor due to cost, compared to 13% of White peers. Source: North Carolina Health Equity Report, 2018
- Black women are more than two times likely to endure a stillbirth than their white counterparts. Source: North Carolina Health Equity Report, 2018
- Only 1 in 3 Black Americans who needs mental health care receives it. Source: American Psychiatric Association, 2017
- 34% of Black trans and non-binary individuals have had one or more negative experiences with a health care provider in the last year Source: National Center for Transgender Equality, 2015
A study by the American Bar Association notes that “the poverty in which Black people disproportionately live cannot account for the fact that Black people are sicker and have shorter life spans than their white complements. Racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people – even when insurance status, income, age and severity of conditions are comparable.”