Milwaukee Health Report

Health Disparities in Milwaukee by Socioeconomic Status

Socioeconomic Status and Health

Many researchers have found that there is a relationship between people's socioeconomic status (SES, commonly measured as a combination of income and education) and their health. This has been documented in studies in the United States as well as in countries around the world. The relationship between SES and health has also been found to exist in the City of Milwaukee. The Center for Urban Population Health and the City of Milwaukee Health Department have prepared the Milwaukee Health Report by analyzing local data in order to update what we already know about the relationship between health and socioeconomic status. The goal of this report is to provide policy makers and community organizations with meaningful information that can be used in addressing Milwaukee's health issues.

What We Did

We obtained population-level measures of both socioeconomic status (SES) and health. To determine SES, we combined education and income indicators for each of Milwaukee's 29 ZIP codes. We calculated a socioeconomic status index number for each ZIP code, and then placed the ZIP codes into three groups indicating lower, middle and higher SES.

We obtained health data from a variety of national, statewide and local sources that provide ZIP code level data. We categorized the health data into two main groups of "health measures" - health determinants (including health care access, health behaviors, social economic and physical environment) and health outcomes (including morbidity and mortality).

We then examined each health measure by the three SES ZIP code groups to determine if a difference by SES exists for the health measure. For comparison purposes, data were also presented for the city as a whole, Wisconsin and the United States.

How This Report Can Be Used

The information in this report can be used in many ways. It describes the health and well-being of the people of Milwaukee on a variety of health measures. It provides relevant health data in one place for policy makers and local officials to use when considering policies aimed at improving the health of Milwaukee and its residents. It summarizes and characterizes the relationships between health status and socioeconomic status, which may be useful for community organizations wishing to expand or target their programming to meet the needs of their community. It also serves as a concise source of health information for researchers and others seeking to characterize the health of the city and its residents. Ultimately we hope that this information will be used to improve the health of our community.

What We Found

There are many ways in which to present and interpret the data in this report. The figure below summarizes how the health measures in each SES group performed against the same measures in both the state of Wisconsin and the U.S. One overall finding is that Milwaukee's lower SES group has significantly worse health then the upper SES group for almost all of the health measures.

Please note that these documents are in PDF format.

Questions and Feedback

Contact us with questions or to provide feedback about this report.