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Issue Brief—Socioeconomic Status: Disparities in the Sunflower State

Issue brief #1 in a series of three on health disparities in Kansas

By Lawrence John Panas, Ph.D., Charles Hunt, M.P.H., Wen-Chieh Lin, Ph.D. | April 10, 2018

Issue Brief—Socioeconomic Status: Disparities in the Sunflower State

READ IT HERE—Socioeconomic Status: Disparities in the Sunflower State

Socioeconomic status is a complex combination of factors—including income, education and occupation—that can have a strong influence on a person’s daily life. Research has shown that people with low socioeconomic status are more likely to experience poor health outcomes. It also has shown that people belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to experience low socioeconomic status than are non-Hispanic Whites. 

This issue brief describes racial and ethnic disparities that exist in socioeconomic status in Kansas. It focuses on three measures—poverty, low educational attainment and unemployment. Key points from the brief include:

  • In 2015, one-quarter of both Hispanic (25.3 percent) and Black Kansans (25.3 percent) lived in poverty.
  • Almost four in ten (38.7 percent) Hispanic Kansans age 25 and older did not have a high school diploma or GED in 2015.
  • In 2015, non-Hispanic Blacks were more than twice as likely to be unemployed than non-Hispanic Whites (12.9 and 5.0 percent, respectively).

This series on health disparities in Kansas includes three briefs that originate from KHI's Chartbook: Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in a Changing Kansas.

The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) delivers objective information, conducts credible research, and supports civil dialogue enabling policy leaders to make informed health policy decisions that enhance their effectiveness as champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.