With the support and funding from bi3, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) recently released a report titled, “Unlocking Ohio’s economic potential: The impact of eliminating racial disparities on Ohio businesses, governments and communities.”
This analysis looks at the economic potential associated with eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Ohio, finding that if Ohio eliminates disparities, the state could gain $79 billion in annual economic output by 2050.
Beyond the substantial impacts on people and communities of color across Ohio, disparities in outcomes, such as life expectancy and overall health status, represent missed economic opportunities for Ohio businesses, governments and communities. Allowing these disparities to continue to exist will only result in a more economically unstable and unhealthy Ohio. By eliminating racial disparities, leaders in Ohio can grow the workforce, increase consumer spending, strengthen communities and reduce fiscal pressures on state and local budgets. In addition to growing the size of Ohio’s economy, the elimination of disparities would also enable the state to gain:
- $40 billion more in total income
- $30 billion more in consumer spending
- $4 billion more in state and local sales tax revenues
- $3 billion in reduced healthcare spending
- $2 billion in increased employee productivity
- $821 million in reduced corrections spending
The analysis found that Ohio can grow its economy and preserve public resources by ensuring that every person has the opportunity to live a healthy life and fully participate in the state’s economy. When people are healthy and financially stable, their families, businesses and local communities benefit. However, the 2023 Health Value Dashboard shows that Ohioans face worse health outcomes, including living shorter and less healthy lives, than people in most other states. Contributing factors include rising overdose and suicide deaths and Ohio’s long-term decline in labor force participation.
These challenges are especially stark for Black and Hispanic/Latino Ohioans, who often face barriers to health and employment — barriers that are rooted in systemic and historical injustices that continue to this day. This results in disparities, or systematic differences in outcomes, experienced across groups of Ohioans. By eliminating racial disparities, leaders in Ohio can grow the workforce, increase consumer spending, strengthen communities and reduce fiscal pressures on state and local budgets.
The report summarizes the factors that contribute to racial disparities in Ohio, provides new data on the economic benefits Ohio could gain by eliminating disparities and recommends a series of actions that Ohioans can take to eliminate racism, improve health and increase economic vitality.