Inequality and health inequities

Inequality is a significant driver of bad health: a society that deprives people of resources to stay healthy is a society where many people become sick, injured, or die because of factors outside of their control.

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.

Health inequities are systematic differences in health outcomes that result from differences in access to the conditions that keep people healthy. These are called “social determinants of health” - conditions that people are born into or experience during their lives.

These social determinants of health are shaped by local, national, and global systems of power. When these systems deprive people of the social and economic conditions that support health, those people experience worse health outcomes. Historical and contemporary racism, economic inequality, and disinvestment all determine who is placed at greater risk for bad health outcomes. Too often, these are people in low-income neighborhoods and people of color.

Data Features: Interactive infographics and reports

Displacement Risk

Housing stability creates health, but in NYC, many people have difficulty accessing healthy, stable housing. In some neighborhoods, residents at are higher risk of being …

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2023 NYC Heat-Related Mortality Report

Summary Each summer, on average, an estimated 350 New Yorkers die prematurely because of hot weather in New York City (NYC). These heat-related deaths account for about 2% of …

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Interactive Heat Vulnerability Index

Use this Heat Vulnerability Explorer to look up your the heat vulnerability of your neighborhood, and the neighborhood characteristics that affect it.

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Data Stories: Narratives and explainers

Housing creates health Health is determined by many factors, and people tend to be healthier when they have economic stability, live in quality …


Economic stability creates health Health is determined by many factors, and people tend to be healthier when they have economic stability, live in quality …


Injury deaths in NYC Injury deaths among young and middle-aged adults in New York City: with a focus on homicide and suicide Young and middle-aged …


Lead poisoning affects adults too Lead poisoning affects adults too Lead is a harmful metal that can cause serious health issues. When lead poisoning makes …


The racial wealth gap has big implications for public health and health equity Throughout history, the distribution of wealth in the U.S. has, and continues to be, largely unequal between racial groups. …


Why trash is a public health issue Why trash service is crucial for public health New York City’s modern history of public health starts in the 1600s with the …


A walk through history A neighborhood is not only shaped by its residents, but also by governmental practices and policies. Some of these have …


Efforts to reduce air pollution should focus on neighborhoods with the worst health impacts. Every year in NYC between 2015 and 2017 (the most recent years for which this analysis is available), fine particulate matter …


How power outages affect health Imagine your child has asthma. One summer night, a powerful storm rolls in and knocks the power out. Your child starts to …


Why violence is a public health issue Using public health to prevent violence Experiencing violence affects people in many ways. It not only causes physical injury …


A brief history of redlining Inside the 90-year-old financial policy that harms our health In public health, we often cite structural racism to help …


Health, housing, and history For health, place matters What determines whether or not you’re healthy? You may think about what you eat, whether you …


Protecting New Yorkers from extreme heat Hot weather is dangerous. In New York City and across the country, more people on average die from extreme heat each year …


Disparities in violence Violence has profound effects. An assault, a shooting, a homicide, or any use of force affects people in many deep ways. …


Why asthma is a social justice issue Poverty affects health in many ways. In New York City, the story of asthma clearly illustrates this connection. To understand …