July 26, 2018
Center News

Why does Alaska have such low rates of low-birthweight babies? Why do more black babies in Washington State live to their first birthday compared to any other state? And, why do the health benefits of finishing high school and completing college apply unequally for racial and ethnic groups across every state?

A generation ago, people in the U.S. experienced fairly similar health outcomes, regardless of where they lived. But today, we see dramatic differences and growing “health gaps” between states, especially when you look at race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

A new report from the the Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative, highlights how much the chance to live in good health, advance economically, and enjoy other aspects of wellbeing depend on where you live.

The HOPE report Initiative examines how every state and the District of Columbia compare against 28 measures of health and wellbeing—such as infant mortality, affordable housing, food security, preschool and college enrollment, and air quality—to help states see where they are doing well and where they can do better based on national benchmarks. The report maps inequities by state and highlights the path forward by showing policymakers, researchers, and community leaders where the opportunities are greatest.

“By having a better understanding of where and how residents fare on a broad range of measures, state leaders can see where gaps lie, the people and places that are most affected by these gaps, and the bright spots where states stand out for their success,” says Brian Smedley, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE). “We’re only as good as our weakest link, and we all benefit when we make sure those who are falling behind don’t stay behind.”

The Center on Society and Health and the Texas Health Institute assisted NCHE with the report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For copies of the report and to learn more about the HOPE Initiative, visit the website at http://bit.ly/HOPEInitiative