Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Social Science and Medicine

Author ORCID Identifier

David W. S. Wong

Debasree Das Gupta




Elsevier Ltd

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Journal Article Version

Accepted Manuscript

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Last Page


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


To facilitate community action toward health equity, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program (CHR&R) assigns health rankings to US counties. The CHR&R conceptual model considers White-Black and White-non-White dissimilarity values to represent residential segregation as part of the family and social support subcomponent. As the US is greying and becoming more multi-racial-ethnic, the two-group White-centered segregation measures are inadequate to capture segregation among population subgroups in the US. Thus, we evaluate the relevancy of segregation measures that consider multiple racial, ethnic, and age groups in assessing US county health. Besides using the two-group dissimilarity index to measure Whitecentered racial segregation as conceptualized by CHR&R, the study also uses the multi-group generalized dissimilarity index to measure racial-ethnic-age segregation by counties, employing both aspatial and spatial versions of these measures. These indices are computed for counties using the 2015-2019 American Community Survey data at the census tract level. Descriptive statistics and regressions controlling for sociodemographic factors and healthcare access are used to assess the contributions of individual segregation measures to mortality (life expectancy, years of potential life lost and premature mortality) and morbidity (frequent mental distress, frequent physical distress and low birth weight) indicators representing county health. Correlations between these indicators and most segregation measures are significant but weak. Regression results show that many segregation measures are not significantly related to mortality indicators, but most are significantly associated with morbidity indicators, with the magnitudes of these associations higher for the multi-group racial-ethnic-age segregation index and its spatial version. Results provide evidence that racial-ethnic-age segregation is associated with county-level morbidity and that spatial measures capturing segregation of multiple population axes should be considered for ranking county health.

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