Across indicators, the data showcases that Black and AIAN (American Indian, Indigenous, American Native) Californians generally suffer the worst outcomes, whether life expectancy, having children with low birth weights, and preventable hospitalizations.
Californians of color have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the form of infections, severe illness, and death. At the same time, a majority of uninsured Californians are people of color who are denied access to basic health care services due to affordability, employment, or citizenship status. This results in racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes, such as higher rates of adverse birth outcomes and chronic diseases.
Communities of color are often those most in need of both COVID-centered care (such as vaccines and hospitalization for the virus) and other non-COVID health care services (e.g., preventive medicine, behavioral health, and more). Policymakers need to prioritize both. Ongoing efforts to build on the successes of health care reform by expanding coverage to all residents can help address gaps in coverage. This means coverage for all Californians and increased funding to provide residents with health care services through medical safety net programs.
Life expectancy rates are a measure often used to assess the quality of social and economic conditions.