Key Facts on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity

From the article by Samantha Artiga, Julian Foutz, Elizabeth Cornachione, and Rachel Garfield From the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Disparities in health and health care remain a persistent challenge in the United States. Disparities not only result in inequities but also limit continued improvement in quality of care and population health and result in unnecessary health care costs. Many initiatives are underway to address disparities and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) included provisions that advance efforts to reduce disparities. One key step to addressing disparities is identifying and documenting them. This information is necessary to develop and target interventions and to track progress over time. Data available to measure disparities is improving. Notably, the ACA requires all federal data collection efforts to obtain information on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status. However, there remain gaps in data, particularly for some racial and ethnic subgroups.

This chartpack provides data on demographics, health access and utilization, health status and outcomes, and health coverage by race and ethnicity to provide greater insight into the current status of disparities. Where data are available, it examines measures by six groups: White, Asian, Hispanic, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The majority of measures are for the nonelderly population.

The main takeaways include:

  • More than four in ten (41%) nonelderly individuals living in the United States are people of color.
  • People of color face significant disparities in access to and utilization of care.
  • Blacks and American Indians and Alaska Natives fare worse than Whites on the majority of examined measures of health status and outcomes.
  • Despite coverage gains under the ACA, nonelderly Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians and Alaska Natives remain significantly more likely than Whites to be uninsured.

The available data can be browsed by category:

Read the full article.