aging equity, Boston, people of color, race and discrimination, health outcomes
Gerontology | Health Policy | Race and Ethnicity
The experience of being and becoming older differs substantially based on one’s race, ethnicity, and gender. In the City of Boston, it has never been more critical to strategically pursue greater equity in the aging experience of residents. According to data from the US Census Bureau, the number of Boston residents aged 60 or older increased by more than a third just since 2010 and persons of color now make up half of Boston’s older adults. As well, stakeholders share a growing recognition of the powerful ways in which inequity, racism and discrimination shape health outcomes and the aging experience, amplifying the need to scrutinize and remediate disparities in aging.
The purpose of this report is to examine these intersecting trends and to document disparities experienced by older residents across three major dimensions of healthy aging: economic security, health, and social engagement. The report tells a story of inequities across the life course that together challenge the ability of many people to thrive in later life and contribute to disparities across populations.
While community initiatives, like Age-Friendly Boston, cannot fully remediate the late-life impact of processes that have played out over a lifetime, often spanning communities, states, or countries of residence, it is critical for stakeholders to be aware of the disparities that exist in Boston, and seek to ensure that systems appropriately respond to those disparities. After all, everyone ages. Therefore, to create environments in which all Bostonians can “age strong” it is imperative to address the inequities that shape later life. To do so, we first need to understand the patterns of inequity. In this report we profile older Boston residents and compare the experience of aging in diverse ethnic and racial communities, as a means of summarizing the contours of disparity and identifying targets for intervention. This report also documents substantial disparities in each dimension of healthy aging across racial and ethnic groups.
Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //scholarworks.umb.edu/engage
Mutchler, Jan; Coyle, Caitlin; Velasco Roldán, Nidya; Watanabe, Paul; Woods, Cedric; Rivera, Lorna; Swan, Quito; Stone, Elena; and Nsiah-Jefferson, Laurie, "Aging Strong for All: Examining Aging Equity in the City of Boston" (2020). Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging Publications. 49.