Health researchers have investigated the association between racial segregation and racial health disparities with multilevel approaches. This study systematically reviews these multilevel studies and identifies broad trends and potential directions for future research on racial segregation and health disparities in the US. After searching databases including CINAHL and MEDLINE, we systematically reviewed 66 articles published between 2003 and 2019 and found four major gaps in racial/ethnic segregation and health disparities: (a) the concept of segregation was rarely operationalized at the neighborhood level, (b) except for the evenness and exposure dimension, other dimensions of segregation are overlooked, (c) little attention was paid to the segregation between whites and non-black minorities, particularly Hispanics and Asians, and (d) mental health outcomes were largely absent. Future directions and opportunities include: First, other segregation dimensions should be explored. Second, the spatial scales for segregation measures should be clarified. Third, the theoretical frameworks for black and non-black minorities should be tested. Fourth, mental health, substance use, and the use of mental health care should be examined. Fifth, the long-term health effect of segregation has to be investigated, and finally, other competing explanations for why segregation matters at the neighborhood level should be answered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)