How Roanoke, Virginia, Is Addressing Income Disparities And Their Impact On Health Outcomes

BOB COWELL JR. | May 15, 2019

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The link between poverty and health outcomes is well recognized. Recent Health Affairs Health Policy Briefs on these trends have shown a strong connection between people’s income and their health. It is also widely known that poverty is not an equal opportunist: Minority populations generally experience deeper poverty and thus poorer health outcomes. This fact was underscored by the community health assessments conducted for Roanoke, Virginia, in 2012 and again in 2015. Poverty levels in Roanoke track slightly above that found elsewhere in Virginia and in the nation as a whole. In medically underserved neighborhoods, however, these rates can exceed 50 percent. These areas have a disparity in life expectancy as great as six years from the median and 14 years from the highest reported in the city.

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