Social and Economic Factors

It is well-established that poverty has negative effects on health, and the effects of poverty on children are more pronounced than other age groups. As children age, the risks associated with poverty are compounded by education access issues and decreased access to nutritious food. Individuals who do not graduate from high school are more likely to face difficulty in the securing employment and health insurance coverage. Individuals with poor family support, minimal contact with others, and limited involvement in community life are less likely to make healthy lifestyle choices and are more susceptible to early mortality.

Employers across the United States are increasingly spending more on healthcare and lost productivity than they are on raw materials or other labor and development costs. The un-well workforce costs employers $153 billion annually, a figure set to rise to $1.201 trillion by 2023 and $5.668 trillion by 2050. Read more.

The 2013 conference took place in La Quinta, California, on January 14-15, 2013 and included an additional day of working sessions to catalyze community and private sector solution building. Exemplar individual, community, and corporate commitments generated by the Clinton Health Matters Initiative were showcased during the conference. 


The 2014 conference will take place on January 13-15, 2014, in La Quinta, California. The event will be webcast, and audiences are invited to participate in the virtual discussion. Stay tuned for announcements about participating speakers and topics.


More about Social and Economic Factors

Research on the relationship between educational attainment and improved health outcomes indicates that years of formal education are correlated strongly with improved work and economic opportunities, reduced psychosocial stress, and healthier lifestyles. Individuals who do not graduate from high school are more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty and rely upon public assistance.  Because employee-sponsored health insurance is the most common source of health insurance coverage, unemployment also serves as significant barrier to adequate health care.

Adults and children in single-parent households are at greater risk for adverse health outcomes such as mental health problems (including substance abuse, depression, and suicide) and unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and excessive alcohol use.  Poor family support, minimal contact with others, and limited involvement in community life are associated with increased morbidity and early mortality.  Furthermore, social support networks have been identified as powerful predictors of health behaviors, suggesting that individuals without a strong social network are less likely to participate in healthy lifestyle choices.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality research shows that out-of-pocket costs are highest for people with chronic health conditions or functional impairment.  The costs associated with treating the elderly with chronic conditions are high and continuing to grow.  These costs are borne by everyone—Federal and State governments, families and the elderly themselves.  Furthermore, the number of Americans who will suffer functional disability due to arthritis, stroke, diabetes, coronary artery disease, cancer or cognitive impairment is expected to increase at least 300 percent by 2049.