As the COVID-19 pandemic raged, the data just kept coming about the unequal impact and the unequal access to important help.
People of color were being hit harder by infections and deaths. They were facing less access to testing sites. Then, once vaccines became available, they had less access to shots.
But the stories of those disparities are neither new, nor isolated to the pandemic. Data show wide disparities in Black and Latino families' access to health insurance, doctors, pharmacies and health care institutions in their neighborhoods. To provide some context, it wasn't until the 1960s that efforts began to undo segregated hospitals, most notably 1965 when the start of Medicare provided an incentive to hospitals because the substantial federal funding that came with the new health care program also included conditions that care be equal and integrated.
Decades later, however, deep divides persist. One glaring modern example is the nation's plague of maternal death and near-death, which has impacted Black women at rates far higher than white mothers.
The resources we're sharing here include academic research, investigations by journalists and our ongoing news stories and investigations around the topic of unequal health care.
Come back often as our journalists delve into the data about inequities in our cities and highlight potential solutions over the coming weeks and months. We'll be adding the latest coverage here.
Our Investigations and News Reports
Your zip code determines your lifespan, data show. Researchers say inequality is a cause of death and can kill people well before the average life expectancy of 78 in the U.S. The difference between living downtown compared to some neighborhoods on the South and West Sides can be up to 30 years. That's the largest gap in the country.
Black women in Chicago are six times more likely to die during childbirth. "Our America: Living While Black" is a five-part ABC Owned Television Stations docuseries that goes beyond the statistics to explore inequalities facing Black families across the country in institutions.
As some pharmacies prepare to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents across California and the country, there are some areas of Los Angeles where people don't have equal access to pharmacies, according to an ABC7 analysis of retail pharmacy license data from the state.
Racial inequality often begins before birth. The rate of maternal mortality for Black women is six times higher than other races here in Chicago. While the problem has been well-documented, solutions have been elusive.
Our extensive review of testing sites nationwide by our data team shows, sites in communities of color in many major cities face higher demand than sites in whiter or wealthier areas in those same cities.
For decades, many in the city of Philadelphia have challenged the inequality when it comes to the healthcare system for disenfranchised communities. In South Philadelphia, one nonprofit is expanding its vision for a compassionate community health care center.
Resources for learning more about inequities in health care and healthy living
Pharmacy deserts are the latest front in the race to vaccinate people against COVID-19. The reporting found that the drugstore disparity is particularly significant in majority-nonwhite rural neighborhoods, where there is on average one pharmacy per 9,888 people, compared to one pharmacy per 8,045 people in whiter rural neighborhoods.. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/pharmacy-deserts-front-race-vaccinate-covid-19/story?id=76201564
White neighborhoods had more accessing to COVID testing sites. According to a new, extensive review of testing sites by ABC News,1 FiveThirtyEight and ABC-owned television stations, sites in communities of color in many major cities face higher demand than sites in whiter or wealthier areas in those same cities. The result of this disparity is clear: Black and Hispanic people are more likely to experience longer wait times and understaffed testing centers. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/white-neighborhoods-have-more-access-to-covid-19-testing-sites/
Nationally, black mothers are dying from childbirth at three to four times the rate of white mothers; they suffer severe complications twice as often.. Nationally, USA TODAY reported that hospital data showed black mothers are dying from childbirth at three to four times the rate of white mothers; they suffer severe complications twice as often. https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/deadly-deliveries/2019/03/07/maternal-death-rates-secret-hospital-safety-records-childbirth-deaths/2953224002/
Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. A 2002 report by the Institute of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2594273/
The Health Care System and Racial Disparities in Maternal Mortality. A 2018 article by American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2018/05/10/450577/health-care-system-racial-disparities-maternal-mortality/
Black and White Infant Mortality Rates Show Wide Racial Disparities Still Exist. A 2017 article in Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/black-women-infant-mortality-rate-cdc-631178
How Racism is Bad for Our Bodies. A 2013 article in The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/how-racism-is-bad-for-our-bodies/273911/
Why Black Women Die of Cancer. A2014 article by the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/opinion/why-black-women-die-of-cancer.html?emc=eta1
The Groundwater Approach. A report by The Racial Equity Institute about its explanation of its Groundwater metaphor, which "is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity." https://www.racialequityinstitute.com/groundwaterapproach
The Racial Equity Institute. An alliance of organizers, leaders and trainers devoted to creating racially-equitable organizations and systems across the United States. The organization's web site and blog include countless resources and opportunities to learn. https://www.racialequityinstitute.com
Food deserts are part of the landscape of poor, urban neighborhoods across the United States.. A 2014 report in Johns Hopkins Magazine at Johns Hopkins University. https://hub.jhu.edu/magazine/2014/spring/racial-food-deserts/
Characteristics and influential factors of food deserts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/45014/30940_err140.pdf
There are clear, race-based inequalities in health insurance. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/usc-brookings-schaeffer-on-health-policy/2020/02/19/there-are-clear-race-based-inequalities-in-health-insurance-and-health-outcomes/
Racial and ethnic disparities in employer-sponsored health coverage. The American Bar Association. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/health-matters-in-elections/racial-and-ethnic-disparities-in-employer-sponsored-health-coverage/