How do race, income, education and neighborhood conditions affect health outcomes in Minneapolis and St. Paul? MCF member Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation commissioned Wilder Research to find out, and just released an update to the 2010 report The Unequal Distribution of Health in the Twin Cities. The update has some good news but plenty of reminders of how far we have to go. Some of the more positive findings:
- Life expectancy is higher for the Twin Cities (81 years) than it is for the country as a whole (76 years).
- Life expectancy has also improved throughout the region since 2000, with the greatest increases made in the poorest neighborhoods.
- Mortality rates improved among most racial and ethnic groups. A notable exception to this trend was in the U.S.-born African-American community.
But on the other hand:
- Despite the narrowing gap, there is still an 8-year difference in life expectancy between the highest and lowest income areas in the Twin Cities.
- Mortality rates for African-American and American Indian residents are 3 to 3.5 times higher than average for other racial and ethnic groups.
- The percentage of residents living below the poverty level has increased in the last decade, which could threaten the gains that have been made in reducing health inequities.
The report notes that the Twin Cities region is becoming increasingly diverse, with one-third of residents projected to be people of color by 2035. As this trend continues, it becomes all the more important to shrink these inequities in health and other areas of our community.
You can download and read the full report on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation website.