Ronald J. Angel
This article explores major themes related to the association among social factors that generate and maintain poverty and that determine health outcomes among different income groups. It first considers the social class factors that affect health and persistent socially based inequities in health before explaining the meaning and measurement of poverty. It then examines the effect of childhood poverty on adult outcomes, along with the phenomenon known as the “Hispanic paradox.” It also assesses the interrelationships among poverty, mental illness, and health care, the concept of “social capital,” the so-called “new morbidity,” and the health implications of health care reform for poor and minority Americans. Finally, it reflects on the potential role of nongovernmental and faith-based organizations in enhancing the health of disadvantaged individuals and communities.