The Great Recession and Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Services Use

JAMA: January 7, 2013

The “Great Recession” of 2007 to 2009 affected Americans of all backgrounds, across education, age, race/ethnicity, and household type, but took a far greater toll on African Americans and Hispanics than on whites.1– 2 In 2009, unemployment rates of African Americans (14.8%) and Hispanics (12.1%) were significantly higher than the rate for whites (8.7%).3 Median wealth fell 66% among Hispanic households, 53% among African American households, and 16% among white households.2 Rates of employment-based health insurance declined more steeply for minorities than for whites, as 25% of African Americans and Hispanics lost their job during the recession compared with 15% of whites, and minorities were more likely to become uninsured. Read more