New Poll Shows Majority of Americans - 68 Percent - are Unaware that Racial and Ethnic Minorities Receive Poorer Care Than Whites

Lack of Awareness Greatest Amongst Whites

In September 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey to examine the extent to which the American public was aware of racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The researchers fielded the survey to a nationally representative sample of 1,111 adults age 18 and over. The attached executive summary and report highlight the findings of this survey, which include:

  • Only 32 percent of Americans think that the problem of getting quality health care is worse for African Americans and Hispanics than it is for white Americans.
  • Although most Americans are unaware of the disparities in health services provided to African Americans and Hispanics, 65 percent of Americans say that the federal government should do more to address racial and ethnic health care disparities.
  • Twenty-three percent of African Americans report that they received poor quality medical care because of their race or ethnicity, as compared to one percent of whites. One in five Hispanic Americans report that they received poor quality medical treatment because of their accent or how well they spoke English.