Economic conditions

About Economic conditions

Social and economic conditions affect people’s health. These conditions (also called “social determinants of health”) are conditions that people may be born into or fall into over the course of their lives.

People tend to be healthier when they have access to:

  • Economic and financial stability
  • Higher education
  • Adequate health care
  • Healthy neighborhoods and safe, strong communities

Access to these are shaped by local, national and global distribution of resources and power. When people are deprived of the resources they need to maintain health, they experience worse health outcomes. Discrimination based on race, or limited access to resources because of their cost, often results in health inequityavoidable and unfair health outcomes.

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Neighborhood poverty

The percent of households with incomes below the federal poverty level. Households without sufficient resources are often deprived of access to items such as health care and good quality housing that are needed to maintain good health.

Child poverty (under age 5)

Poverty is a major determinant of health, since poverty deprives people of access to health and safety resources.


Adults age 16+ who are unemployed.

Health insurance (adults)

Health insurance coverage is associated with numerous beneficial health effects. Those with health insurance are more likely to have a regular doctor, receive preventive care services, better manage chronic health conditions, have longer life expectancy, and more.

Jail incarceration

Each component of the criminal justice continuum - from arrest to re-entry - carries various health consequences, and a growing body of literature has documented severe adverse health outcomes associated with incarceration on the individual, their families, and neighborhoods.

Perception of neighborhood safety

Adults reporting their neighborhood is safe from crime. Whether people perceive their neighborhood as safe can affect whether they will spend time outside, use parks, and use active and sustainable forms of transportation. It can also affect mental well-being.

Owner-occupied homes

Housing units occupied by their owner.

Rent-burdened households

Rent burden is spending 30% or more of your income on rent and utilities.

Household crowding

Households with more than one person per room are considered crowded.

Evictions (court-ordered)

Eviction often leads to residential instability, moving into poor quality housing, overcrowding, and homelessness, all of which is associated with negative health among adults and children.People who are threatened with eviction, even before they lose their home, are more likely to report poor health, high blood pressure, depression (from "The Hidden Health Crisis of Eviction" by Allison Bovell-Ammo and Megan Sandel).