Since 1970, the number of hospitals in the United States has declined dramatically. Previous small scale studies, and research using data from the 1970s-80s demonstrated that hospital closures occurred at disproportionately higher rates in low-income and minority communities. This paper expands these findings, and analyzes whether they hold today. Using data on hospital closures over the last two decades compiled from Medicare cost reports and demographic and health data from the census and CDC, we examine whether hospitals closed in demographically disadvantaged and high health need neighborhoods, in the twenty most populous U.S. cities. We then study how access to hospitals has changed as a result of the shifting urban hospital landscape, and the implications of these changes for health inequality.
Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2