Health Disparities

  • Sanjay Basu
  • Mark Cullen
  • Jeremy Freese
  • David Rehkopf

Leaders: Sanjay Basu, Mark Cullen, Jeremy Freese, David Rehkopf 

The affiliates within the Health Disparities RG are using new computer modeling and statistical techniques to examine how poverty affects the health of children and adults and how some anti-poverty programs are reducing those effects. Here’s a sampling of our projects. 

Income, geography, and life expectancy: Using deidentified tax data and Social Security Administration death records, Raj Chetty and his coauthors have shown that the richest 1 percent live 14.6 years longer, on average, than the poorest 1 percent. Although poor people typically have much shorter lives, Chetty also shows that the extent of this disadvantage depends on the place of residence, thus suggesting that there may be opportunities for policy to reduce the gap in life expectancy.

Infant health and poverty: Which poor neighborhoods are associated with very low birth weights? By identifying neighborhoods that are yielding very low birth weights, we can start to target home visiting and related programs.

Biological mechanisms of disadvantage: We all know that poverty “gets under the skin” and creates lasting disadvantage. Is this because children exposed to poverty-induced stress experience epigenetic changes? We’re going to know very soon.

Income and the developing brain: The prevailing view is that poverty is especially likely to shape children’s early development because of the high plasticity and rapid growth of the brain during the first three years of life. It’s high time for a rigorous study of how income affects the brain function and development of infants and toddlers. 

CPI Collaborators

Jacob Hacker's picture Jacob Hacker Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science; Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Yale University
Shannon Monnat's picture Shannon Monnat Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology, Demography, and Sociology
Pennsylvania State University
VJ Periyakoil Professor of Medicine; Associate Dean of Research (Geriatrics and Palliative Care), Founding Director, the Stanford Hospice & Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program and Founding Director, the Stanford Palliative Care Education & Training Program
Stanford University
Fernando Riosmena's picture Fernando Riosmena Associate Professor, Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science and Geography Department
University of Colorado at Boulder
Maya Rossin-Slater Associate Professor of Health Research and Policy
Stanford University