Who Are America's Poor Children? Examining Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity

Seith, David C.; Kalof, Courtney Leigh

Good health in childhood both reflects and predicts full social and economic participation. Conversely, social divisions by race and income are often associated with health disparities, which inhibit children from achieving their full potential. Although many would agree that health is a fundamental right, children subject to exclusion by race and class are less likely to enjoy this right. An earlier report in the NCCP Who are America's Poor Children? series examined child health disparities by poverty status. In the introduction to that report two points were made. First, "the relationship between socioeconomic status and health is one of the most robust and well documented findings in social science." Second, the relationship is also reciprocal, as poverty detracts from resources used to maintain health, while poor health detracts from the educational and employment paths to income mobility. This report goes one step further to consider health disparities among poor children by race and ethnicity. As in the earlier report, it identifies a list of publicly available indicators found in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). It examines selected disparities in six domains of health risk and health status: family composition and poverty, food insecurity, environmental conditions, health insurance coverage, access to healthcare services, and health outcomes. It offers a short introduction to a dozen indicators, explaining how each reflects one of the six dimensions of heath and how public policies might help to reduce relevant disparities. Intended for a generalist audience, this report summarizes and references primary research resources.


More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Children in Poverty
National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University
Published Here
July 20, 2011