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The Cost of Inequity: Economic Impacts of Health Disparities in Texas

Health Disparities Cost Central Texas over $450 million Annually


Disparities in health impose both an enormous human cost as well as a significant economic burden on Central Texas and other communities across the state, costing Texas over $7 billion annually.

As the Texas population growth continues to soar, new research examines the county-by-county projected costs of racial and ethnic disparities in health across the state. Experts estimate health disparities cost Texans $2.7 billion in excess healthcare spending and an additional $5 billion in productivity loss annually, with those numbers projected to increase by 80 percent to more than $13 billion by the year 2050. This report, funded by Episcopal Health Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries and St. David’s Foundation, is the third in a series released over the past six years examining the economic burden of racial and ethnic disparities in health in Texas.

The Issue

Your zip code shouldn’t determine how healthy you are. Yet we know that wide disparities in health status, disease prevalence, and mortality exist based on geography, race, ethnicity, and gender. Today, Black and Hispanic children in Texas are more likely to grow up in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and their families are more likely to lack health insurance.

While not everyone in Central Texas is directly impacted by health inequities, the costs of these disparities affect us all. The data outlined in this report demonstrate how disparities across the many social and environmental factors that impact health result in more health care spending, decreased workforce productivity, and shortened life spans.

The Findings

For the first time, county-level cost estimates in the report are now available, enabling local officials to forecast the impact on their individual communities. Snapshot of Central Texas specific data.

By 2050, when today’s children are in their prime working years, Texas will have grown from a current population of 29.7 million people to a population of 47.3 million people. People of color will make up more than 90 percent of that population growth.

By not actively prioritizing and addressing these disparities, the health costs of that inaction to our Central Texas region will more than double over the next thirty years – from $454 million annually today to over a $1 billion annually in 2050.

As we look to the future, this research offers us a deeper understanding of how inequities impact our state and our Central Texas community. The findings demonstrate that acting now can mitigate these going challenges of tomorrow. St. David’s Foundation remains eager to work in partnership with other funders, government entities, and community organizations to continue to advance health equity, eliminate barriers, and create opportunities for optimal health for all Central Texans.

Download the complete report below and click here to explore a comprehensive statewide interactive map for county-specific findings.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Methodist Health Care Ministries: Serving Humanity to Honor God

This report is the third in a series released over the past six years on the economic burden of racial and ethnic disparities in health in the state of Texas. Research led by Altarum and funded by Episcopal Health Foundation, Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and St. David’s Foundation.

Meet our Contributors


Edward B. Burger, Ph.D.

President and CEO