Data and Insights on Minority Populations

The Pew Internet Project‘s sample sizes for health surveys have been too small to do in-depth analysis on race/ethnicity and economic status. One challenge is that a significant portion of the respondent pool refuses to answer the household income question (the refusal rate can be as high as 20%). So we use education levels as a proxy.

But the Pew Internet Project and other groups do have resources to share regarding minority populations, however you want to define them.

Browse through all of the Project’s reports and presentations to see if we mention your particular research interest (older Americans, those with low access to technology, those living with disability, rural residents…)

Take a look at the chart on p. 4 in “Online Health Search 2006” (our most recent general-population report on health).

Download the raw data sets for the August 2006 survey and dig into the variables yourself (caution: you’ll need SPSS).

View our “access thermometers,” which show disparities in cell phone ownership, basic internet, and home broadband access. (Previously blogged about here.)

Our sister organization, the Pew Hispanic Center, is finishing up a report on Latino health knowledge, communication, and relationship to health care. Sign up for their email updates to get the early word on their research.

At the Information Therapy conference, I heard presentations from all sorts of entities who are serving the “underserved”: Silverlink, Eliza, John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation, GroupHealth Cooperative, Healthwise, MedEncentive, and HHS.

I also met individuals who have on-the-ground knowledge about minority access to health care and health information: Warren Jones, who directs the Mississippi Institute for the Improvement of Geographical Minority Health; Janet Taylor, who blogs at Be Well in Color; Elisa Stomski of Anthem Blue Cross, who presented data about how Spanish-dominant Latinos have a “thirst” for information about cancer screenings and diabetes care; and Chris Gibbons, who said the de facto second opinion among African Americans is someone in their family — and health care should start where the patient is, not where the expert is.

Read George Lauer’s conference review for more details and examples. Stay tuned to the IxCenterBlog for updates on conference presentations — there was a whole day devoted to health disparities. Read what Ted Eytan has tagged “disparities” on his blog.

What other resources are available? What other minority groups should be on my radar screen? Please add to my list in the comments!


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5 Responses to “Data and Insights on Minority Populations”

  1. Susannah Fox says:

    This just in: More data showing that a serious diagnosis can be a factor in low access to technology, but not necessarily low interest in health information.

    “Many thought that cancer patients who were better off
    would be more likely to use resources such as the Internet
    to cope with their illness, yet our research indicates that
    underserved patients with greater psychological needs are
    more likely to take advantage of the Internet as a source of
    cancer information. Our findings support efforts to expand
    access to Web-based cancer information resources for
    vulnerable populations who could benefit from this support,”
    says Bret Shaw, assistant professor of life sciences
    communication and lead author of the study. “It is also
    interesting to learn that experiential information such as
    personal stories from other patients may be among the
    content that patients want most.”

    (From a press release running on Ascribe about a study published in the Journal of Health Communication.)

  2. Susannah, these are all great resources.

    Per your request, to add to your list…
    NIH has a National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, and Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, is its Director of Innovation & Program Coordination.
    Neil Calman, MD, is the CEO of the Institute for Family Health, a network of safety-net clinics in New York. Neil doesn’t blog often, but when he does, it’s great (
    Both Kyu and Neil presented at our conference last week and their presentations should be up on our Web site later today.
    We spent a lot of time shadowing clinicians and patients (about half the time observing in safety-net settings) during the Patient-Centered HIT Initiative and blogged extensively about it ( We are working on plans to do much more in this setting in the near future.

  3. Susannah Fox says:

    The Public Policy Institute of California just released a report on Californians and Information Technology:

  4. Less than half of California Latinos (48%) have home computers compared to about eight in 10 or more for whites (86%), Asians (84%), and blacks (79%). Just four in 10 Latinos (40%) have Internet access and a third (34%) a broadband connection at home.
  5. Among households with incomes under $40,000, half have home computers, but only four in 10 (40%) have home Internet access and just a third (33%) have broadband.
  6. Twenty-nine percent of Californians have DSL, 19 percent have cable modems, 5 percent have wireless, and 2 percent have fiber optic or T-1 connections. Just 7 percent have dial-up connections.
  • Susannah Fox says:

    Since I link to our access thermometers in this post, I wanted to link to our latest version of those “who’s online, who’s not” charts.

  • SusannahFox says:

    @lozzola Yes, that is a valid concern. Would love to hear your thoughts on some old posts, like

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