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Demographics/Social Determinants of Health

Demographics are the classifiable characteristics of a given population.

Demographic characteristics most commonly used in public health statistics include:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Geographic area of residence
Other demographic characteristics include:
  • Disability status
  • Educational attainment level
  • Employment status
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Nativity (native- or foreign-born)
  • Veteran status

Many demographic characteristics are also social determinants of health (SDOH).
Analysis of public health data by demographic characteristics is essential to the reduction and elimination of health disparities, which are defined as significant differences in "the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population."1 This definition can be applied to any demographic group, not just racial/ethnic minorities. Analysis by demographic characteristics also shows at what age certain diseases and conditions typically affect persons as well as how life events, choices, and circumstances (e.g., marriage, military service, and educational attainment) affect health outcomes.

Certain demographic groups have consistently better outcomes than others on a variety of public health issues. For example, infant mortality among whites is a fraction of that among blacks and the death rate due to unintentional injury among women is about half that of men.
Demographic characteristics are tracked in most public health data sets including, but not limited to:

The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 18 May 2024 16:48:50 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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