A large and growing body of research indicates that race/ethnicity continues to matter in the U.S. health care system. About 1 in 3 residents of the United States self-identify as either African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific American, or Latino. Racial/ethnic background is associated with health status, health insurance coverage, and health care access and quality, with people of color consistently faring poorer on many health outcomes. Eliminating these disparities has become a national priority, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a national goal of eliminating health disparities by the end of this decade. This has promoted greater accountability and helped to focus public and private sector attention on racial/ethnic disparities in the nation’s health and thus, health care system. Although attention to racial/ethnic disparities in care has increased among a growing constituency base, including health plan purchasers, payers, providers of care, and policymakers, there is little consensus on what can or should be done to reduce these disparities.
This section's resources include links to research, analysis, and statistics on health of minority populations and racial and ethnic disparities in health care.