Publications / 2019 Edition — Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity

2019 Edition — Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity

The California Landscape

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Note: The report was updated on February 24, 2020, to correct the title on page 7.

All Californians should have access to the high-quality health care they need to lead a long and healthy life. Achieving this requires reducing disparities in health and the social determinants that affect historically excluded or marginalized groups.1 Disparities occur across many dimensions, including race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, place of residence, gender, disability status, and sexual orientation.

As the most racially diverse state in the country, California has a critical stake in addressing health disparities experienced by people of color. Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity: The California Landscape shows that people of color face barriers to accessing health care, often receive suboptimal treatment, and are most likely to experience poor outcomes in the health care system.

Key Findings

  • Life expectancy at birth in California was 80.8 years. It was lowest for Blacks, at 75.1 years, and highest for Asians, at 86.3 years, an 11-year gap.
  • Latinos were more likely to report being in fair/poor health, to have incomes below the federal poverty level, and to be uninsured. About one in five Latinos did not have a usual source of care, and one in six Latinos reported difficulty finding a specialist.
  • Blacks had the highest rates of new prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer cases, and highest death rates for breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer.
  • About 1 in 5 multiracial, Black, and white adults reported being told they have depression compared to about 1 in 10 Asian adults.
  • Blacks fare worse on maternal/childbirth measures, with higher rates of low-risk, first-birth cesareans, preterm births, low-birthweight births, infant mortality, and maternal mortality.

Health Disparities in Medi-Cal Managed Care

This one-page quick reference guide provides a look at Medi-Cal Managed Care enrollment and quality of care by race/ethnicity.

The full report and the quick reference guide are available for download below. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity in California.


  1. Paula Braveman et al., What Is Health Equity? And What Difference Does a Definition Make?, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2017.

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