Life expectancy and disease rates in the United States differ starkly among Americans depending on their demographic characteristics and where they live. Although health care systems are taking important steps to reduce inequities, meaningful progress requires interventions outside the clinic, in sectors such as employment, housing, transportation, and public safety. Inequities exist in each of these sectors, and barriers to educational attainment, higher-income jobs, and social mobility limit the opportunity of disadvantaged people to improve their circumstances. Financial institutions and other stakeholders are investing in cross-sector collaborations to remove these barriers and thereby strengthen local economies and population health. Meanwhile, recent trends suggest the need to widen the lens on health equity, to include not only the low-income residents of inner-city neighborhoods but also people in economically marginalized rural communities. Widening income inequality and stagnant wages, and their alarming health consequences, underscore the need for policies to help low-income and middle-class families and improve educational opportunities for their children. (author abstract)
Progress in achieving health equity requires attention to root causes
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