Health Disparity Report: Texas’ Black Infant Mortality Drops; Other Numbers Mixed
By Sean Price


While the U.S. has made some improvements in health during recent years, deep and widespread health disparities persist – and, in some instances, have grown, according to the America’s Health Rankings 2021 Health Disparities Report, which also contains some Texas-specific data. 

On the plus side, over the past decade prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national rate of uninsured declined 37%, from 14.6% to 9.2%, said the report, which was conducted by the Texas Health Institute on behalf of the United Health Foundation. 

Texas health statistics reported in the study were mixed. Among the positive results: 

  • Infant mortality dropped 17% among Black infants (to 10.1 deaths before age 1 per 1,000 live births) comparing the 2003-06 time frame with 2015-18. (Despite this decrease, Black Texans still have the highest infant mortality rate among the state’s racial and ethnic groups, according to the America’s Health Rankings 2020 Annual Report.) 
  • Unemployment decreased 40% among American Indian/Alaska Native people (to 5.2%) comparing 2005-09 with 2015-19. 
  • Smoking declined 19% in male adults (to 17.8%) comparing 2011-13 with 2017-19. 

But the state also saw: 

  • A 57% spike in multiple chronic conditions in adults with less than a high school education (to 14%) comparing the 2011-13 time frame with 2017-19; 
  • A 27% increase in cardiovascular disease in female adults (to 8%) comparing 2011-13 with 2017-19; and 
  • A 21% increase in diabetes in white adults (to 11.5%) comparing 2011-13 with 2017-19. 

The report did not focus specifically on Texas’ uninsured rate. The percentage of Texans without health insurance – 18.4% in 2019 – was twice the national average and has grown from 16.6% since 2016, according to the latest U.S. Census data. 

The Texas Medical Association routinely pushes for some form of coverage expansion for uninsured Texans along with improving physician payment increases in Medicaid, but those efforts went unrealized in the Texas legislative session that ended in May.

Last Updated On

July 14, 2021

Originally Published On

July 14, 2021

Sean Price


(512) 370-1392

Sean Price is a reporter for Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. He grew up in Fort Worth and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He's worked as an award-winning writer and editor for a variety of national magazine, book, and website publishers in New York and Washington. He's also helped produce Texas-based marketing campaigns designed to promote public health. Sean lives in Austin and enjoys hiking, photography, and spending time with his wife and two sons.

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