News Release

Annual Update of Key Health Data Collection by Race and Ethnicity, Now Including Mental Health Measures

The annual update of KFF’s collection of wide-ranging data on health and health care by race and ethnicity is now available, and this year includes measures on mental health care access, mental illness, substance use disorder, suicide rates, and drug overdose death rates.

The handy reference, “Key Data on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity,” has nearly 50 charts and up to 70 data measures that highlight the scale and scope of disparities among six racial and ethnic groups in three broad categories: health coverage and access to and use of care; health status, outcomes, and behaviors; and social determinants of health.

When the measures are examined collectively to see how Asian, Hispanic, Black, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) people fare compared to White people, readers can see the extent of disparities experienced by specific groups. For example, Black people fared worse than White people in 55 measures of health and health care and Hispanic people fared worse than White people in 44 of them. However, the data may mask disparities faced by subgroups within these broad racial and ethnic categories. For example, while Asian people fare the same or better than White people on many measures, certain ethnic subgroups of Asian people may fare worse. Further, ongoing data gaps and limitations hinder the ability to have a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of smaller groups, such as AIAN and NHOPI people.

The overview of how specific racial/ethnic groups fared compared to White people is a gateway to explore the detailed findings, some of which have received attention or policy action recently:

  • Among adults with any mental illness, Black (39%), Hispanic (36%), and Asian (25%) adults were less likely than White (52%) adults to receive mental health services as of 2021.
  • 2020 data reflect that AIAN people had the highest rates of drug overdose deaths compared with all other racial and ethnic groups. Drug overdose death rates among Black people exceeded rates for White people as of 2020, reflecting larger increases among Black people in recent years.
  • Although Black people did not have higher cancer incidence rates than White people overall and across most types of cancer that were examined, they were more likely to die from cancer.
  • At birth, AIAN and Black people had a shorter life expectancy compared to White people as of 2021, and AIAN, Hispanic, and Black people experienced larger declines in life expectancy than White people between 2019 and 2021. These life expectancy trends may matter in any discussion of increasing the age of eligibility for Medicare.
  • Black infants were more than two times as likely to die as White infants, and AIAN infants were nearly twice as likely to die as White infants as of 2021. Black and AIAN women also had the highest rates of pregnancy-related mortality.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.