Health inequities in childhood asthma

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Poverty compared to the state as a whole

There are many social and economic inequities that contribute to health, like income and housing. How do health outcomes like visiting the emergency room for an asthma attack differ based on the poverty level of the person’s area (county or neighborhood), and how do these differences compare to the state as a whole?

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we compared the poverty level in each county to the poverty level in Minnesota to determine if it had significantly different poverty than the state as a whole. We categorized each county as lower than Minnesota, the same as Minnesota, or higher than Minnesota. Learn more about the health equity data.

Emergency department visits for asthma

A person with asthma may need to go to the emergency department (also called the ED, emergency room or ER) if they have an asthma attack that is severe or will not respond to quick-relief medicines like a rescue inhaler.

Childhood asthma emergency department visits, by poverty level

 
Source of asthma data: Minnesota Hospital Association. Emergency department (ED) visits for children <18 years of age, 2015-2017 combined, age-adjusted rates. Source of poverty data: 2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates for child’s county of residence. Poverty for children under 18 years.
 
Rate is not age-adjusted. Source of asthma data: Minnesota Hospital Association. Emergency department (ED) visits for children <18 years of age, 2015-2017 combined. Source of poverty data: 2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates for child’s county of residence, children under 18 years.

 

In the state as a whole, the rate of asthma emergency department (ED) visits was about 57.6 per 10,000 children under 18 years for this same time period as the chart above (2015-2017). 

Rates of asthma ED visits are two times higher among kids that live in counties with higher-than-average poverty compared to the state’s poverty level as a whole.

For comparison, 13.4% of children under 18 years lived in poverty in Minnesota for this time period (2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates). The 90% confidence interval for the Minnesota average was 13.1 – 13.7%.


Poverty & race

Children of color and American Indian children are more likely to be living in poverty than white children.

According to MDH’s 2017 Minnesota statewide health assessment, Minnesota children of color or children that identify as American Indian are 3 to 5 times more likely to be living in poverty than white children.

 

Children living in poverty in Minnesota, by race and ethnicity

 
Source of data: 2015 American Community Survey. See page 10 of the 2017 Minnesota statewide health assessment
 
Source of data: 2015 American Community Survey. See page 10 of the 2017 Minnesota statewide health assessment. 

 

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