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New Research on Health Equity Issues from Salud America!

Salud America! has unveiled their new research review on health equity. Read on to learn what they found.


Where you live is significantly linked to how healthy you are. Sadly, U.S. Latino communities face unaffordable housing, unreliable public transportation, and a lack of green space and parks.

This limits Latinos’ access to health-promoting assets—medical care, good schools, healthy food, and physical activity. This contributes to health inequities affecting this population.

Fortunately, community leaders can adopt dynamic land-use methods, public-private partnerships, and community involvement to build and revitalize Latino neighborhoods. This can create affordable housing, connection to public transportation, and more green spaces.

The result is health equity—a fair, just opportunity to achieve the best health possible.

Salud America!’s The State of Latinos and Housing, Transportation, and Green Space examines the latest available science on Latino access to affordable housing, public transit, and parks. The review also highlights strategies and policies to improve neighborhood health equity, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve the best health possible.

Here are some key findings from the research review:

Latinos & Housing

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Latino families are burdened by high housing costs.

  • The percentage of Latinos who are “housing cost burdened” —spending 30% or more of household income on housing costs—grew from 42.4% in 2000 to 56.9% in 2015.
  • More Latinos rent their homes (54%) than their white peers (28%).
  • Latinos also experience high rates of eviction and involuntary displacement.

Increasing affordable housing options can improve Latino communities.

  • Cities and community partners are increasingly pushing for more affordable housing, using tools like eased zoning standards, buying land to give to affordable developers, and setting up affordable housing trust funds for future projects.
  • Localities also can help keep renters in their homes with rental housing assistance or repair programs.

Latinos benefit from transport-oriented development in their neighborhoods.

  • These developments improve affordable housing near public transit, jobs, and other amenities (retail, civic, social, etc.).
  • Successful transit-oriented developments in Latino neighborhoods in California have engaged advocates to push for affordable housing. They also added health care, child care, and plaza space, promoted public art, and formed groups to protect local interests.

Latinos & Transportation

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Latinos face big transportation challenges, from cost to reliability.

  • Latinos face longer commutes than their white peers (26.9 minutes vs. 25.1 minutes).
  • Yet Latinos are less likely to have access to a car (12% vs. 6.5%), and more likely to rely on public transit (27% daily/weekly usage vs. 14%).
  • Latinos often report bus routes are unreliable, infrequent, or even unsafe.

Improving public transportation can improve Latino quality of life.

  • People who live in walkable, bikable, transit-oriented communities have:
    • increased employment rates and physical activity.
    • less weight gain, traffic injuries, poverty, and air pollution exposure.
  • Cities and local groups can create equitable public transit through income-based bus fare reductions, improved scheduling with after-hours service, increased bus frequency, and routing improvements where Latinos reside.
  • Several studies show that Latinos desire public investment in safe sidewalks to normalize walking, and greenways as safe routes to school and public transportation, which contribute to social cohesion in neighborhoods.

Latinos & Green Space

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Latino communities lack safe, accessible, and culturally relevant green space.

  • Only 1 in 3 Latinos live within walking distance (<1 mile) of a park. Only 19% of Latino children have access to recreational green spaces close to their neighborhoods, compared to 62% of their white peers.
  • Park-less Latinos miss out on space for physical activity, social interaction, and stress reduction.
  • Top barriers to Latino access to green spaces are distance, a lack of street, sidewalk, and transit connectivity, a lack of park programming and maintenance, and a lack of equitable funding for green spaces.

Green space initiatives that account for community needs can improve Latino physical and mental well-being.

  • Latino kids who interact with nature early in life have cognitive changes, which improve behavioral development.
  • When green space is accessible in Latino neighborhoods, Latino kids are more physically active in parks.
  • Green space initiatives are effective when they meet Latino community needs: using a community park as a hub for neighborhood events, social services, and connections to healthcare, repurposing vacant lots into play spaces, and creating greenways as safe routes to school, public transit.
  • Maintenance of existing green spaces and Latino-focused programming can increase perceptions of safety, ownership, cultural relevance, and “belonging.”


Access the full Salud America! The State of Latinos and Housing, Transportation, and Green Space research review, as well as additional resources, here.