Health inequalities: Ethnicity

Explore case studies from councils and how COVID-19 exacerbated the inequalities Black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) people face. This work informs part of the health inequalities hub, which is funded by UK Government.

The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic minority communities. They have experienced higher levels of infection and death rates. Geography, deprivation, occupation, living arrangements and health conditions have all played a role as well as genetic factors.

But the truth is these inequalities were already having an impact on the health and wellbeing of ethnic minority communities before COVID-19 hit – it is just that the pandemic has shone a light on them like nothing before.

Questions to consider for councillors

1. What is the ethnic profile of your area and how does it relate to disadvantage and deprivation?

2. Which ethnic groups in which age groups are worst off in terms of life expectancy and years of healthy life? How, if at all, do these figures differ from national averages?

3. Are there particular health conditions experienced by certain ethnic groups among your residents? For example, do you know what the prevalence of mental illness is among different groups? Where there is a high prevalence of a particular condition how is the council using its powers to combat this?

4. What are the educational attainment and employment statistics for the different ethnic groups represented among your residents? Are there other social determinants of health for which there is local evidence of particular disadvantage among certain ethnic groups?

5. How is housing tenure distributed across your population and is there a correlation between overcrowding, poor housing condition or fuel poverty and ethnicity?

6. Do your health policies and all the council’s policies relating to the social determinants of health explicitly and systematically propose action to combat discrimination and disadvantage on the basis of ethnicity where they exist?

7. What is the council and its public health team doing to narrow significant gaps between ethnic groups?

Explore case studies from councils which showcase the best examples of working together to support people from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic (BAME) groups in the community and the literature on how COVID-19 exacerbated the inequalities BAME people faced.