244622 Worsening societal distress and widening disparities during the 2007 2009 Recession

Monday, October 31, 2011

Benjamin Evans, MHSA , Center on Human Needs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Carrie Thompson, MPA , Center on Human Needs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Steven Woolf, MD , Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Family Medicine, Fairfax, VA
Emily Zimmerman, PhD , Center on Human Needs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Objective: To detail the prevalence of societal distress in terms of food security, housing, health, education and income and temporal trends during and after the recession in the magnitude and distribution of distress in the U.S. population and in three states: Michigan, Mississippi and New Mexico.

Methods: Using national and state microdata from reputable source agencies in multiple years, we stratified metrics indicative of societal distress (e.g., poverty, food insecurity, housing cost burden, lack of health insurance, etc.) by key demographics such as age, gender, race-ethnicity, education, income, and household characteristics to determine temporal effects during the recession.

Results: The prevalence of distress increased dramatically during the recession, in some instances continuing a trend that predated the recession and in others revealing a clear inflection point within the first year. Societal distress was accentuated among the poor, those without a high school education, and young adults (age 18 to 24). Most racial groups fared worse than white populations. In Michigan and Mississippi, African Americans exhibited profound increases in societal distress, while in New Mexico the largest increases occurred among Hispanics.

Conclusions: The global recession had sweeping effects on societal distress at the national and state level, but vulnerable populations already bearing a disproportionate burden experienced more accentuated deterioration in living conditions than more advantaged groups. The implications of this trend for equity and downstream health outcomes will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives 1. Describe the prevalence of national and state societal distress 2. Describe how the global recession of 2007 2009 affected the prevalence of societal distress. 3. Identify the groups that suffer from a disproportionate share of societal distress 4. Identify the groups that suffered the worst outcomes of the recession.

Keywords: Poverty, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.