There is a significant literature on the impact of social and economic determinants on health status and health outcomes of various groups by racial/ethnic group, gender, socioeconomic status and professional class. While inequalities in the many social and economic determinants of health are pervasive and risks travel together, it is not always easy to show causation, nor is it easy for researchers and health policy communities to recommend and act on non-health policies despite their importance to health.
DiversityData.org allows Web visitors to explore how metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. perform on a diverse range of social measures that comprise a well-rounded life experience critical to maximizing health potential. On this Website are socioeconomic indicators for metropolitan areas in the form of tables, maps and reports for various racial/ethnic, income and nativity groups in domains such as housing opportunities, economic opportunities, residential integration, and health. The first report, “Children Left Behind: How Metropolitan Areas are Failing America’s Children” focuses on 100 metropolitan areas with the largest child populations and concludes that across metropolitan America, black and Hispanic children face particularly severe challenges when compared to white and Asian children. Not only do black and Hispanic children live in families that experience many disadvantages, but disparities among individuals and families are exacerbated by vast inequalities in neighborhoods and school environments. These inequalities go far beyond what can be explained by income differences, as poor black and Hispanic children tend to encounter environments considerably worse than poor white and Asian children. Place matters greatly.
Depending upon where they live, kids will either find or not find many of the conditions that allow them to be healthy and interact successfully with their environment. These conditions include neighbourhood health and safety, housin
g options, degree of residential and school segregation, recreational choices, and services such as education, transportation, family support, employment, and other opportunities for economic advancement. Yet the very conditions that contribute to these inequalities suggest a range of possible policy solutions to improve child well-being, such as policies to reduce child poverty, remove barriers to homeownership, reduce disparities in education, increase mobility and choice, invest in early childhood development, and improve schools and environments in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This presentation will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities involved in advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of America’s children and the nation.