The Legacy of Race

Health Care Disparities Plague Blacks

From the 2018 Community Health Equity Report, courtesy of the Health Action Partnership.

As part of The Legacy of Race series, BirminghamWatch looked into how race affects health and health care. What we found turned into a series of stories on its own.

Historically Black neighborhoods have some of the lowest life expectancies and highest rates of disabilities and infant mortality in Jefferson County, in line with national trends. Poorer health is a result of several factors.

Rural and poorer areas across the state lack easy access to healthy foods and to adequate health care facilities. People who live there may lack the money, insurance or transportation to seek health care when illnesses are manageable. When they do get to the doctor, most of those doctors are white and from completely different cultural backgrounds, making it hard to build trust.

When added to other factors such as poorer areas also having more environmental pollution, fewer sidewalks and fewer parks to encourage exercise, the result is more health problems and lower life expectancy rates.

Revisit the BirminghamWatch stories that explored these areas:

ZIP Code, Race Predict Lifelong Health Inequities

Access to Treatment, Insurance Isn’t Colorblind

Black Doctors Have Been Rare, but a Local Physician’s Experience May Point the Way Toward Building Numbers

Being the Target of Racism Can Make You Physically Sick, Research Shows