Objective

Racial disparities in health outcomes are a persistent threat in gentrifying neighborhoods. A contributor to health outcomes is health services utilization, the extent to which people receive care from a medical professional. There are documented racial disparities in health services utilization in the general population. We aim to determine whether racial disparities in health services utilization exist in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Methods

We used data from the American Community Survey to identify gentrifying neighborhoods across the United States from 2006 to 2017. We collected data on three measures of healthcare services utilization (office-based physician visits, office-based nonphysician visits, and having a usual source of care) for 247 Black and 689 White non-Hispanic respondents of the 2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey living in gentrifying neighborhoods. We used modified Poisson models to determine whether there is a difference in the prevalence of health services utilization by race among residents of gentrifying neighborhoods.

Results

After adjusting for age, gender, education, income, employment, insurance, marital status, region, and self-rated health, Black residents of gentrifying neighborhoods demonstrated a similar prevalence of having an office-based physician visit, a lower prevalence of having an office-based nonphysician visit (prevalence ratio: 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.60 to 0.91), and a lower prevalence of having a usual source of care (prevalence ratio: 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 0.98) than White residents.

Conclusions

The existence of racial disparities in health services utilization in US gentrifying neighborhoods demonstrates a need for policy-relevant solutions to create a more equitable distribution of health resources.

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