New Report: Black Residents Face More Barriers to Better Health than Whites

March 25, 2019 / By Vanessa Mbonu

Key findings from the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, released on March 19, 2019, reveal that “Black residents face greater barriers to opportunity and health than white residents.” The finding comes from the 10th annual County Health Rankings – an assessment of how well counties across America fare in terms of various health factors – published by NAACP partner, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in conjunction with The University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.

“The NAACP has long recognized the barriers that compromise health and wealth among African Americans,” said Dr. Marjorie Innocent, NAACP Senior Director of Health Programs. “As we continue to ensure the protection of civil rights, we look forward to collaborating with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other partners to advance a culture that engenders opportunity and heath for all through proactive, equitable policies and programs nationwide.”

According to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) nearly 1 in 4 Black households spend more than half of their income on housing.

Our collective health and well-being depend on building opportunity for everyone. Yet, across and within counties there are stark differences in the opportunities to live in safe, affordable homes, especially for people with low incomes and people of color. These differences emerge from discrimination and institutional racism in the form of long-standing, deep-rooted and unfair systems, policies, and practices such as redlining, restrictive zoning rules, and predatory bank lending practices that reinforce residential segregation and barriers to opportunity. As a result, we consistently see worse health outcomes for people with low incomes and people of color. We cannot thrive as a nation when the factors that contribute to good health are available to some, but denied to others.” –
Provide permanent, basic rental housing with social services available onsite or by referral, usually for low income families, seniors, veterans, or people with disabilities


Another key finding from the analysis was that “severe housing cost burden affects health and is linked to barriers to living long and well. Across counties, increases in the share of households severely cost burdened are associated with more food insecurity, more child poverty, and more people in fair or poor health.”

The County Health Rankings tool is an easy-to-use snapshot that compares counties within each state, the Rankings provide information on factors communities can do something about – such as housing, jobs, education, community safety, and more.

To learn where your county ranks, visit