What a difference a “BA” makes: new health disparities data addresses education

Got a problem with profound health disparities among Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites? Just add education. That seems to be one lesson we learn from a just-released report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (based on data from the National Health Interview Survey): “Trends in Child Health 1997-2006: Assessing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Low Birthweight.” The two charts below depict the percentages if children born with low birth weight by race/ethnicity. On left you see the general population. The right is the percentage of children with low birth weight in families in which householder/spouse earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher. A BA (or higher) makes the Blacks/Hispanics/Whites rates converge. Pretty dramatic. In a region suffering from superlative disparities, I think we have the data we need to justify major investments in higher ed accessibility and lifelong learning.

 

General population.

General population.

 

BA or higher in family.

BA or higher in family.

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