The Role of County-Level Persistent Poverty in Stroke Mortality in the USA

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Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities


Stroke is a major health concern in the USA, disproportionately affecting socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. This study investigates the link between persistent poverty and stroke mortality rates in residents aged 65 and above, positing that sustained economic challenges at the county level correlate with an increase in stroke-related deaths. Persistent poverty refers to a long-term state where a significant portion of a population lives below the poverty threshold for an extended period, typically measured over several decades. It captures the chronic nature of economic hardship faced by a community across multiple generations. Utilizing data from the CDC Wonder database and the American Community Survey, we conducted a comprehensive analysis across US counties, differentiating them by persistent poverty status. Our results indicate a statistically significant link between persistent poverty and increased mortality from ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes; counties afflicted by long-standing poverty were associated with an additional 33.49 ischemic and 8.16 hemorrhagic stroke deaths per 100,000 residents annually compared to their wealthier counterparts. These disparities persisted when controlling for known stroke risk factors and other socioeconomic variables. These results highlight the need for targeted public health strategies and interventions to address the disparities in stroke mortality rates and the broader implications for healthcare equity. The study underscores the vital role of socioeconomic context in health outcomes and the urgency of addressing long-term poverty as a key determinant of public health.



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Health outcomes, Persistent poverty, Public health policy, Socioeconomic disparities, Stroke mortality