Neighborhood-level Asian American Populations, Social Determinants of Health, and Health Outcomes in 500 US Cities

Ben R. Spoer, Filippa Juul, Pei Yang Hsieh, Lorna E. Thorpe, Marc N. Gourevitch, Stella Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: The US Asian American (AA) population is projected to double by 2050, reaching ~43 million, and currently resides primarily in urban areas. Despite this, the geographic distribution of AA subgroup populations in US cities is not well-characterized, and social determinants of health (SDH) and health measures in places with significant AA/AA subgroup populations have not been described. Our research aimed to: 1) map the geographic distribution of AAs and AA subgroups at the city- and neighborhood- (census tract) level in 500 large US cities (population ≥66,000); 2) characterize SDH and health outcomes in places with significant AA or AA subgroup populations; and 3) compare SDH and health outcomes in places with significant AA or AA subgroup populations to SDH and health outcomes in places with significant non-Hispanic White (NHW) populations. Methods: Maps were generated using 2019 Census 5-year estimates. SDH and health outcome data were obtained from the City Health Dashboard, a free online data platform providing more than 35 measures of health and health drivers at the city and neighborhood level. T-tests compared SDH (unemployment, high-school completion, childhood poverty, income inequality, racial/ethnic segregation, racial/ethnic diversity, percent uninsured) and health outcomes (obesity, frequent mental distress, cardiovascular disease mortality, life expectancy) in cities/neighborhoods with significant AA/AA subgroup populations to SDH and health outcomes in cities/neighborhoods with significant NHW populations (significant was defined as top population proportion quintile). We analyzed AA subgroups including Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Other AA. Results: The count and proportion of AA/AA subgroup populations varied substantially across and within cities. When comparing cities with significant AA/AA subgroup populations vs NHW populations, there were few meaningful differences in SDH and health outcomes. However, when comparing neighborhoods within cities, areas with significant AA/AA subgroup vs NHW populations had less favorable SDH and health outcomes. Conclusion: When comparing places with significant AA vs NHW populations, city-level data obscured substantial variation in neighborhood-level SDH and health outcome measures. Our findings emphasize the dual importance of granular spatial and AA subgroup data in assessing the influence of SDH in AA populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-444
Number of pages12
JournalEthnicity & disease
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

Keywords

  • Asian American Health
  • Population Health
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Spatial Epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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