The Impact of Income, Education, and Family Structure Distributions on Black-White Disparities in Child Health

Elsie R. Pamuk, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC
Gloria Wheatcroft
Jennifer Parker, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC

Black children fare worse than White children on many, if not most, indicators of health status and health care access. While it is widely acknowledged that the lower family incomes, lower parental education and fewer two-parent households of black children contribute to their poorer health profiles, there have been few attempts to assess the relative contributions of these social factors on Black-White child health disparities. This paper uses data collected by the National Health Interview Survey during 1998-2002 to assess the impact of differences in income, education and family structure distributions on twelve measures of children’s health status and access to health care. Our results show that differences in income distributions between Whites and Blacks generally have a larger impact on child health indicators than either differences in parental education or family structure. Multiple adjustment for all three social factors produces relatively small additional reductions in Black-White child health disparities.

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Presented in Session 118: African American Mortality and Health