Social conditions

About Social 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

But when people don’t have access to these conditions, they experience worse health outcomes. Discrimination based on race (and other personal or social characteristics) results in disparities in access to resources that protect and maintain health – and thus, results in unfair disparities in health outcomes. This is health inequityavoidable and unfair health outcomes.

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Race and ethnicity

Structural racism, which includes neighborhood disinvestment, racist housing policies, fewer job opportunities and lower pay, and less access to high-quality education and health care, means that our society often deprives people of color of the resources they need to stay healthy.

Independent living difficulty (adults)

People with disabilities or access or functional needs may need additional support during extreme weather. For example, they may need extra planning for safe travel out of evacuation zones during a hurricane, or back-up electricity to support medical equipment during power outages. Information provided here about adults with independent living difficulties can help emergency management professionals better prepare our residents for emergencies.


People born outside the USA or its territories (including Puerto Rico).

Graduated high school

People age 25 years and over who have completed high school or high school equivalency.

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.

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Older adults living alone

Older adults are more vulnerable to extreme weather. Those living alone may have more difficulty getting resources they need in an emergency, and are at higher risk of weather-related illnesses like heat stroke and hypothermia.

School absenteeism

Students missing 20 or more school days per year.