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Health Inequities in PA


You will see the following terms come up in the resources linked on this page. Here's what they mean: 

Health Equity:  Everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). 

Health Inequity: Systematic differences in the health status of different population groups. These inequities have significant social and economic costs both to individuals and society (World Health Organization). 

Socioeconomic status: Social standing or class, often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation (American Psychological Association). 

Health disparities: Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Social determinants of health: The conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect health and quality of life (Healthy People 2030).

Health Disparities in Pennsylvania

Health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different population groups (World Health Organization). This page shows a snapshot of some health disparities that exist in Pennsylvania by race, gender, location, education, and more.


Below are additional resources that provide an overview of other health inequities in PA:

Rural Health in PA

A majority of Pennsylvania's counties are rural, as shown in blue in the map above. People living in rural counties have lower household incomes, lower access to care, and are less likely to have health insurance. The following resources provide more information on rural health:

Image source: PA Office of Rural health 

Percentage of Children in Poverty by Race 

About one in six (17%) of children growing up in PA live in poverty. The percentage of children in poverty for Black and Hispanic populations is more than triple that of the White population.

children in poverty.png

Data source: Community Health Rakings and Roadmaps

Life Expectancy by Race in PA

While the overall life expectancy in Pennsylvania is 78.4 years, there are large disparities when life expectancy is examined by race/ethnicity. For example, there is a 14-year difference between the life expectancy of Asian (88.8 years) and Black populations (74.4 years).

Life Expectancy by Race V2_edited.png

Data source: Community Health Rakings and Roadmaps

Inequities in the PA Workforce

A majority of businesses within PA are owned by men, most of which are non-minorities. The percentage of minority owned businesses is just 13.8% compared to 86.2% for non-minorities.

Rural PA faces a pressing need for more physicians as seen in this 2021 map of PA by county. Urban locations are better supplied by physicians, with a 1:267 resident to physician ratio vs a 1:586 ratio for rural residents.

Earnings by Education & Gender

Large disparities exist between men's and women's incomes, even among those who have the same education. Men who have a Bachelor's degree have an average median income that is almost $20,000 higher than women who also have a Bachelor's degree. 


Data source: Statistical Analytics Educational Attainment in Pennsylvania

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