This topic highlights differences and inequities in health outcomes by race and Hispanic ethnicity among Massachusetts (MA) residents. It intends to provide actionable data to inform current health equity efforts in the Commonwealth. Select indicators are included to introduce some important health-related issues people of color experience, and to inspire further investigation of statewide racially based health inequities. In each section, key findings are framed by historical context and equity spotlights. These data are consolidated from previously existing reports and we encourage viewers to supplement their knowledge by following links to the sources provided throughout.

Background on Health Equity

Learn more about health equity and how it relates to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s mission.

Updated on: 02/24/2022

Massachusetts Population by Race/Ethnicity

How racially diverse are residents in Massachusetts? This topic shows the demographic breakdown of residents by race/ethnicity and the increases in the Non-white population since 2010.

Updated on: 06/10/2022

How Segregation Creates Communities of Color in MA

Throughout history, government and industries have neglected investments in some neighborhoods, especially communities of color, who are more likely to have fewer resources.

Updated on: 07/09/2022

Overall Health Indicators

Individuals and communities that have experienced poverty and racism may also face multi-generational trauma. This can result in chronic stress, increased risk of disease, and overall poorer health for communities of color.

Updated on: 05/07/2022


The leading causes of death in Massachusetts are Cancer, Heart Disease, Unintentional Injury, Stroke, and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease. These mortality rates tend to be higher for people of color; and Black residents have a higher premature mortality rate overall and Asian residents have a higher rate of mortality due to stroke.

Updated on: 10/19/2022

Cancer Mortality

This topic compares cancer mortality rates by race/ethnicity and sex.

Updated on: 05/25/2022

Chronic Diseases

The conditions in which people live lead some populations to be inequitably impacted by chronic diseases.

Updated on: 07/18/2022

Wellness: Risk Factors

Communities of color are more often marketing targets for unhealthy products. They are also less likely to receive advice and treatment for quitting tobacco.

Updated on: 10/19/2022

Wellness: Exercise & Nutrition

Access to safe and quality options for physical activity and affordable healthy foods are essential to good health. This topic area shows the relationship between these factors, education and race/ethnicity.

Updated on: 10/19/2022

Wellness: Preventive Care

People of color are more likely to have lower-paying, part-time jobs with lower benefits. Reduced access to these benefits creates barriers to preventative medical care.

Updated on: 09/22/2022

Mental Health: Suicide

Deaths of despair (deaths due to alcohol, drugs and suicide)1 have been on the rise among adults. This topic explores suicide rates among Massachusetts residents by race/ethnicity and age.

Updated on: 07/18/2022

Mental Health: Depression

Depression effects all people regardless of race/ethnicity or age. However, communities of color more often report symptoms of poor mental health.

Updated on: 10/19/2022

Maternal and Child Health

People of color are more likely to experience risk factors for complications in pregnancy, maternal morbidity, infant mortality, and preterm births, which are associated with less access to prenatal care and exposure to toxins.

Updated on: 10/19/2022

Addiction - Alcohol Use

Data show that interventions to address alcohol addiction need to be tailored to ensure that all residents benefit.

Updated on: 11/14/2022

Addiction - Opioid Use

Data show that interventions to address opioid addiction need to be tailored to ensure that all residents benefit.

Updated on: 11/14/2022

Injury and Exposure to Violence

Due to structural racism and social policies that perpetuate inequality, violence disproportionately affects some communities and leads to outcomes that results in higher rates of school bullying, homicides, and firearm death rates.

Updated on: 11/14/2022

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases like tuberculosis, syphilis, and HIV can often be prevented with vaccines and treated with routine preventive care, but White residents are often diagnosed at a much lower rate.

Updated on: 09/25/2022

COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 deeply impacted communities across Massachusetts, but people of color are bearing a higher burden of cases and deaths relative to their population size.

Updated on: 08/02/2022