Published On: 27 February 2023Tags: , , ,

Two reports published today explore the evidence on the health inequalities experienced by young people from ethnic minority backgrounds. These reports find that young people aged 10-25 from ethnic minority groups are likely to face inequalities in a range of health outcomes and within the social determinants that are related to health outcomes

Funded by the Health Foundation, the Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH) worked in collaboration with the Race Equality Foundation on an engagement study, which looked at the experiences of young people and health inequality; and the AYPH also looked at the latest available data on health for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The background to this research was to better understand the connection between young people’s ethnicity and health inequalities.  Our research found that barriers preventing young people from ethnic minority backgrounds from leading healthy lives included:

  • racism
  • microaggressions
  • availability of services
  • lack of trust
  • language
  • age discrimination
  • medical training
  • representation
  • delayed access

In the engagment report, young people spoke of the racism they experience in their everyday life, including negative school experiences and limited access to services where they lived. Young people frequently experience micro-aggressions in their encounters with others, which they described as “silent assumptions”. These incidents can have a profound impact on how young people view themselves within society and how they interact with professionals. The youth panel found it empowering to have the correct terminology to describe this form of racism, which they could use as a foundation to speak up against prejudice and discrimination.

For the engagement study, a youth panel was set up to hear the views and experiences of a small group of young people. The engagement report presents a summary of  the findings from young people. The Foundation worked in partnership with AYPH to deliver this engagement work, and a youth panel co-facilitated with a young person who was appointed as peer facilitator.

AYPH also worked on a data review. They collated a range of publicly available data sources in order to examine the level of ethnic health inequalities experienced by young people. The data report presents a unique collection of charts demonstrating the inequalities that exist for young people age 10-25 from ethnic minority backgrounds. Sources include the Office for National Statistics and other government departments, health service data, representative surveys and academic studies. The data are limited by what is available. For example, some data sets present more detailed ethnic categories compared to others, and it can be hard to untangle the interplay  between factors such as deprivation, ethnicity and health status, although there are bound to be complex relationships between these variables.

The data suggest that young people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to have
poorer health compared to the overall population. There are particular concerns arising for the disparities faced by Gypsy and Traveller young people and Black young people. However, there is considerable variation between ethnicities and by different indicators of health.

Read the engagement report here, the data report here, and a summary report here.