The effect of ethnic density on the health of ethnic minorities in the UK

Laia Becares, University College London
Mai Stafford, University College London
James Nazroo, University of Manchester

Studies in the United Kingdom show a consistent inequality between the health of ethnic minorities and that of White people, with differences reported on health outcomes such as overall self-reported health, limiting long-standing illness, and cardiovascular disease. Further, it has been shown that ethnic minorities are over-represented in deprived areas, which have been correlated with high mortality rates, infectious diseases and teenage childbearing. However, albeit ethnic density is generally thought of in terms of the negative impacts of segregation, it can also be considered in terms of social networks, supportive communities, and decreased social anxiety, mitigating the negative impact of socioeconomic disadvantage and racism on the health of ethnic minority people. Several studies in both the UK and the US have studied the protective properties of ethnic density on the health; however, due to statistical and measurement problems, the effect of ethnic density and the pathways by which it impacts on health remain unclear. This study aims to investigate the relationships between residential ethnic density, interpersonal ethnic discrimination and health. We hypothesise that ethnic minority people living in areas with a high proportion of co-ethnics will experience less racism and will have better health outcomes than their counterparts living in areas of less ethnic density, due to the buffering effect of ethnic density on the detrimental impact of racism. Analyses on data from the Fourth National Survey on Ethnic Minorities suggest that as hypothesised, ethnic minorities living in areas of high ethnic density experienced fewer incidences of racism, which was shown to be associated with poor health outcomes. Analyses on the buffering effects of ethnic density yielded that ethnic density moderated only slightly the impact of racism on health.

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Presented in Poster Session 2