Do wealth disparities contribute to health disparities within racial/ethnic groups?

Craig Evan Pollack, Catherine Cubbin, Ayesha Sania, Mark Hayward, Donna Vallone, Brian Flaherty, Paula A. Braveman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Though wide disparities in wealth have been documented across racial/ethnic groups, it is largely unknown whether differences in wealth are associated with health disparities within racial/ethnic groups. Methods: Data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (2004, ages 25-64) and the Health and Retirement Survey (2004, ages 50+), containing a wide range of assets and debts variables, were used to calculate net worth (a standard measure of wealth). Among non- Hispanic black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic white populations, we tested whether wealth was associated with self-reported poor/fair health status after accounting for income and education. Results: Except among the younger Hispanic population, net worth was significantly associated with poor/fair health status within each racial/ethnic group in both data sets. Adding net worth attenuated the association between education and poor/fair health (in all racial/ethnic groups) and between income and poor/ fair health (except among older Hispanics). Conclusions: The results add to the literature indicating the importance of including measures of wealth in health research for what they may reveal about disparities not only between but also within different racial/ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-445
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of epidemiology and community health
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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