Free Interactive Report
Health and Well-being in the US
By 2030, SDG 3, Good Health and Well-being, aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for everyone of all ages. This includes addressing mental health, maternal and child mortality, deaths from road accidents and pollution, and communicable and non-communicable diseases. It also means ensuring access to insurance and affordable healthcare - from general primary care and family planning, to addiction treatment and counseling services.
Health and Well-being in the US in Context
Globally, 40% of all countries have fewer than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 people and over 55% of countries have fewer than 40 nursing and midwifery staff per 10,000 people. An estimated 18 million additional health workers are needed, concentrated in low- and lower-middle income countries, to achieve universal healthcare access by 2030.
4 types of non-communicable diseases - cardiovascular disease (like heart attack or stroke), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma) account for 71% of all deaths in the world.
Health in the US can be linked with a range of other issues including food insecurity, unemployment, poverty, and geographic location. Currently:
- Over 30 million people lack access to affordable health insurance
- 12% of US adults avoid going to the doctor due to cost-related issues
- 1 in 5 adults have depression while an estimated 55% of US counties do not have any practicing psychiatrists
Health Insurance and Costs
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Insurance in the US includes Medicaid, Medicare, employer-based, and since 2010-when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law- a public marketplace for all Americans to purchase health insurance options.
Unlike other countries like Canada and the UK where public health insurance covers 100% of the population, employer-based health insurance is the largest source of health coverage for Americans, covering 67% of the population (178 million people).
Despite standardized education and certification of medical professionals in the US, there is tremendous variation in the costs of receiving care across states, and 1 in 8 adults do not access care when they need it because of cost barriers.
A lot of the money spent by the US on healthcare goes to pharmaceutical companies, medical-device manufacturers, insurers and large hospitals, and in turn insurance companies, doctors’ offices and hospitals spend huge sums on administration costs.
Before Covid, 19.8% of adults and 9.7% of youth in the US experienced Depression.
These numbers have risen significantly since the start of the pandemic. Other populations that see high rights of mental health conditions include:
- People experiencing homelessness (20.5%).
- Adults incarcerated in the state and federal prison system (37%).
- Youth in the juvenile justice system (70.4%).
- Veterans Health Administration patients (41%) - also include people dealing with substance abuse disorders.
Research by Mental Health America also found:
- That 60% of youth who experience depression did not receive any form of treatment, and over 10% of Americans with a mental illness are uninsured.
- 18% of US adults (19.5 million people) with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2019.
- Mental health challenges can also impact a person's family and peers. Over 8 million people in the US provide care to an adult with a mental or emotional health issue, spending around 32 hours a week providing unpaid care.
Food and the Environment
The amount and type of food a person consumes are closely linked to a range of potential health conditions. Consuming too little or too much, as well as nutrient-poor foods can lead to poor mental and physical development in children, increased risk of disease at all ages, poor mental health, and productivity in adults.
The environment also plays a large role in determining health. The quality of the air we breathe (indoors and outside), the water we drink, and our risk of exposure to chemicals and other waste can be linked directly to respiratory conditions, disease, shorter life expectancies, and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact. Not only have over 730,000 Americans died directly from the virus, but the prevalence of mental health problems has skyrocketed. The pandemic impacts also reach beyond just the health - increasing the number of people facing economic uncertainty and food insecurity
Explore More Using Our Interactive Report
This interactive report is continuously updated and it is free thanks to X4Impact Founding Partners. The report highlights some selected health indicators.
You can view trends on health insurance coverage, access to hospitals, depression rates, and other health-related statistics nationally, or by state. You can also understand the flow of money to fund nonprofits working on good health and well-being, as well as exploring by state the list of nonprofits that work on this issue.
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The Negative Impacts of Poor Health
Despite spending the most on health care compared to other countries of similar economic size, the US still has poorer health outcomes than these countries - including lower life expectancy and higher maternal and infant mortality.
- More than 48,000 American lives are lost to suicide every year - that means there is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. Men, and people identifying as white, Alaska Native, or American Indian are disproportionately affected.
- Mental illness and substance use disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency department visits by a US adult.
- People dealing with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases like diabetes, heart attack, or stroke than the general population.
- A study by Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance found that nearly 45,000 deaths occur annually in the US due to lack of healthcare access.
- With the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, millions of Americans have lost employer-sponsored health insurance.
The Economic Impact
The US spends more than any other country on health-care - $3.8 trillion ($11,200 per person) or 17% of GDP. The nation also has much higher prices for things like outpatient procedures and prescription drugs than countries of similar economic status .
- The health-care sector employs 11% of American workers and accounts for 24% of government spending
- Health insurance is the largest component of non-wage compensation (more than 1/4) and health care is one of the largest categories of consumer spending at 8.1%.
- Mental health and substance abuse disorders cost the US $187.8 billion annually, $71 billion of which is spent on depression.
- A recent study out of Harvard estimates that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the nation at least $16 trillion by the fall of 2021.
Interactive Tool Sources:
- Hospital Beds: KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) and 2015 – 2018 AHA Annual Survey, Copyright 2019 by Health Forum, LLC, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. Special data request, 2019. Available at http://www.ahaonlinestore.com.
- Healthcare Costs Barriers: KFF analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2013-2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). And X4Impact proprietary projections.
- Depression in the US: USAFacts 2021
- Nonprofit-related data: X4Impact analysis of over 600,000 forms 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service -IRS 2018-2020
- Healthline – What Are the 12 Leading Causes of Death in the United States?
- SDG Tracker – SDG 3
- USAFacts – Depression Rate
- KFF – State Health Facts
- NCBI – The Affordable Care Act’s Impacts on Access to Insurance and Health Care for Low-Income Populations
- Center for Environmental Health
- SAVE – Covid Tracker
- MHA – The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Access to Health Care
- Harvard – The State Of Mental Health In America
- Brookings Institution – Lack of Health Coverage Deaths
- NAMI – A dozen facts about the economics of the US health-care system
- TIME – Mental Health By the Numbers
- AMA – How Healthcare Costs Hurt American Workers and Benefit the Wealthy