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Many Adults Do Not See Link Between Racism, Poorer Health

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 -- Less than half of U.S. adults see a connection between systemic racism and poorer health outcomes, according to a report released Jan. 13 by the RAND Corporation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Katherine Grace Carman, from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, and colleagues are conducting four rounds of a national survey of adults living in lower- or middle-income households (with household incomes less than $125,000). This analysis included 4,000 people participating in the COVID-19 and the Experiences of Populations at Greater Risk survey from Oct. 9 through Nov. 2, 2020.

The survey revealed that less than half (42.2 percent) of respondents believe that systemic racism is one of the main reasons people of color have poorer health outcomes, with one-third of respondents overall (32.9 percent) disagreeing with this notion. Black respondents, however, were much more likely (69.4 percent) than White respondents (33.2 percent) to believe that systemic racism affects the health of people of color. The majority of respondents overall (70 percent) see the pandemic as an opportunity for change. Of those seeing this moment of opportunity, respondents reported expanding access to health care and reducing income inequality should be priorities.

"Respondents see the impact of low incomes and living in a rural community on a person's health, but race isn't viewed with the same gravity," Carman said in a statement. "Our leaders need to understand that we have a lot more work to do to educate people about the root causes of inequities and then enact policies to ensure better health for all."

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Posted: January 2021

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