Sick And Tired Of Being Excluded: Structural Racism In Disenfranchisement As A Threat To Population Health Equity.
Theoretical research suggests that racialized felony disenfranchisement-a form of structural racism-is likely to undermine the health of Black people, yet empirical studies on the topic are scant. We used administrative data on disproportionate felony disenfranchisement of Black residents across US states, linked to geocoded individual-level health data from the 2016 Health and Retirement Study, to estimate race-specific regression models describing the relationship between racialized disenfranchisement and health among middle-aged and older adults, adjusting for other individual- and state-level factors. Results show that living in states with higher levels of racialized disenfranchisement is associated with more depressive symptoms, more functional limitations, more difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living, and more difficulty performing activities of daily living among Black people. However, there are no statistically significant relationships between racialized disenfranchisement and health among White people. These findings suggest that policies aiming to mitigate disproportionate Black felony disenfranchisement not only are essential for political inclusion but also may be valuable tools for improving population health equity.
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