Social inequalities fuel health disparities

Communities with larger shares of black residents rank lower on several health-related metrics, including food accessibility, walkable destinations, and access to the natural environment, when compared with communities with larger shares of white residents, according to a new analysis.

The analysis was conducted by U.S. News & World Report, which on September 25, 2018 published a series of articles exploring how various disparities between communities impact health. The analysis showed that only 26 of the communities that ranked in the magazine’s top 500 “Healthiest Communities” had a black population share larger than the national average of about 13%.

“Residential segregation is as American as apple pie,” David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told U.S. News. “It has these pervasive negative effects of producing social inequality and putting caps on the achievements and opportunities of African-American communities. … Virtually everything that drives health and opportunities to be healthy in American life is determined by place.”

Read the U.S. News & World Report articles: Building Off ‘Black Mecca’ and The Relationship of Race to Community Health