Racial and Ethnic Disparities
The demographics of the nation are changing. To date, African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Latinos make up one-third of the U.S. population, and that proportion is expected to increase to half by 2050. In many of America's major cities and urban areas so-called minorities now make up the majority.
Unfortunately the rise in population has not been met with increased health coverage. The breadth of racial and ethnic health disparities is staggering. People of color are less likely to have health insurance coverage, see a provider on a regular basis, and receive preventive screenings or routine health care services. At the same time, they are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of disease and be hospitalized for preventable conditions.
Fast facts about racial and ethnic health disparities:
- Racial and ethnic minorities make up just one-third of the U.S. population but over half of the uninsured.
- African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asians and Pacific Islanders all have higher rates of diabetes than white Americans.
- African American women are less likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer but more likely to die from it.
- African-American patients are less likely to receive high-tech care after a heart attack than white patients, and are more likely to die as a result.
- African Americans and Latinos are more likely to have their legs amputated than non-Hispanic whites -a complication from untreated diabetes.
- African American men are 50 percent more likely to suffer from prostate cancer than white men, and they are more than twice as likely to die as a result of the cancer.
- Asians and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics are more likely to die from complications in hospital care than whites or blacks.
- Black or Hispanic youth are twice more likely to be restrained upon admission to a psychiatric hospital than white youths.
- Asian and Pacific Islander and Hispanic nursing home residents are more likely to be physically restrained than any other racial and ethnic group.
- Pregnant women in California with Arabic names were more likely than any other group to deliver low birth-weight babies in the six months after 9/11, and reported higher levels of racial discrimination in this time period.
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