Racial/Ethnic Variations in Children’s Health: The Role of Social Capital

Mark S. Mather, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

Using data from the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health, I investigate the role of social capital in explaining health outcomes among children in different racial/ethnic groups. I hypothesize that high levels of social capital among Hispanic families provides a protective effect for Latino children, improving their health outcomes relative to other racial/ethnic groups. I test whether African American children, in contrast, face “double jeopardy” because they not only lack the economic resources to maintain good health, but also the social networks that are needed to identify and treat health problems. This research is important because it could point to policy interventions, beyond socioeconomic risk factors, that could lead to improvements in children’s health and reduce racial/ethnic disparities in child well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 6