Dollar for Dollar: Racial and ethnic inequalities in health and health-related outcomes among persons with very high income

Kanetha B. Wilson, Roland J Thorpe, Thomas A. LaVeist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Racial and ethnic disparities in health have been well-documented, and low SES is widely considered to be a driver of this relationship. However, the race-social class-health interrelationship is complex, as several studies have found race disparities between racial/ethnic minorities and whites at middle- income levels. Research on higher income persons is complicated by the lack of data for persons with incomes about $75,000. Most national datasets collect income data in categories with the highest income category being $75,000 and above. In our study, we examined racial/ethnic disparities in health status and behaviors among persons of very high income, reported income of $175,000 or above per year. Data are from the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS). Our findings revealed health disparities in 10 of the 16 health-related outcomes selected. African Americans were most dissimilar to whites at this income and with disadvantages on 6 health outcomes relative to whites. While results also showed some disparities for Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans relative to whites, these groups were advantaged, relative to whites on several health outcomes. Our findings indicate that income does not fully explain racial/ethnic disparities in health. Most public interventions are targeted to low income persons. However, public health interventions should target minority individuals of very high income as well, especially African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Health behaviors
  • Health disparities
  • Health statuses
  • High income
  • Income
  • Racial/ethnic groups
  • Utilization of medical services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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