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Interdependence of Demographics and Health Inequality

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Good health contributes to increased productivity, a more efficient workforce, healthier ageing and less expenditure on sickness and social benefits. The health and well-being of the population are best achieved if those marginalized are included in the planning and decision making processes.

Demographics

Overall population counts

In order to understand health equity, it is important to understand who lives in the communities of Bloomington, Edina and Richfield. Bloomington has 21 census tracts total, while Edina and Richfield are divided into 14 and 12 tracts respectively.

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Population by gender and age groups

The most recent census estimates indicate that the three cities are growing older. The average age is projected to steadily increase as the elderly population increases. Compared to Bloomington and Richfield, Edina has a larger population residents 65 years and older. The majority of Richfield residents fall between the ages of 15 and 64. Richfield also has a higher percentage of children under 5.

Populations by race and ethnicity

Where possible health indicators are examined by racial and ethnic breakdowns. Differences in the health outcomes between racial and ethnic groups are rarely the result of genetic differences which make up 10% of the factors that influence health. The cities of BER are home to residents of varying races and ethnicities. The 3 cities’ average data indicates that white residents make up a higher percentage with a population of 80% overall. Table 1.3 highlights the percent nonwhite population. For this report, Pacific Islanders, and Native American/Alaskan Natives are not included in analyses. The total population numbers of these populations in BER are unfortunately too small to directly compare. These groups are however included in comparisons that include all people of color or of nonwhite origin. The distribution of nonwhite populations varies within the cities. There are 47 census tracts within BER.

Bloomington has 8 out of 21 census tracts with at least 25% residents of color. Richfield has only 10 out of 12 census tracts with over 25% residents of color and Edina has only 2 out of 14 tracts with at least 25% residents of color.

Racial segregation

Health equity may also be influenced by the segregation of a community and health and social outcomes could become unevenly distributed as a result. Racial residential segregation is the degree to which two or more racial groups live separately from one another in a geographic area. Blacks and Latinos make up a higher percentage of non-white minorities in the three cities.

The segregation of Black and Latino populations is evident in Richfield and the east side of Bloomington. Racial segregation can drive or limit SDOH with negative health outcomes for segregated groups in ways including;

  • Limiting access to quality education, preparation for higher education and job opportunities.
  • Elevating situations of poverty and social disorder preventing opportunities for healthy diets and adequate exercise avoid advertising for tobacco and alcohol.
  • Increasing financial stress, hardship and individual and communal stressors.
  • Weakening community and neighborhood infrastructure reduces connectedness.
  • Institutional neglect and disinvestment in poor, segregated communities can lead to increased exposure to environmental hazards, poor quality housing and crime.
  • Effects in both access to care and the quality of care. Residential segregation has been linked to racial disparities leading to elevated risk of illness and death.

Summary

Health is created in the community through biology and genetics that define demographics as well as SDOH1. In Minnesota, various populations are affected by inequities based on their age, gender, sexual orientation and race. Differences in race and ethnicity have consequential impact on health policy and programs. Furthermore, populations of color in Minnesota are projected to increase from 14% to 25% by 20351. Data highlighted in this section has shown a steady increase of non-white populations since the 2000 census. Health outcomes due to differences in race and ethnicity are evident in areas such as chronic diseases, mental health and accidents and injuries, some of which will be highlighted in this report. As the population diversifies and ages, health equity takes a more center stage to ensure that all residents of BER have efficient opportunity reach their full health potential.

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