CDC Data: Lack of Transportation Access Impacts Health

Those living without access to reliable transportation may experience negative health effects as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 13 million people, or 5.7% of adults living in the United States, did not have access to reliable transportation in 2022, according to new data from the National Health Interview Survey — a factor that can have negative health consequences by preventing individuals from obtaining necessary health care.

The survey, published by the CDC, asked respondents whether a lack of reliable transportation kept them from medical appointments, meetings, work, or from getting things they needed for daily living in the past 12 months.

The results revealed that women (6.1%) were more likely than men (5.3%) to lack reliable transportation and that adults living in the West North Central region of the U.S. (7.5%) were more likely to lack reliable transportation than the national average

"A lack of transportation, especially among adults who are older, uninsured, and have lower incomes, leads to reduced access to health care, which may then lead to adverse health outcomes," the CDC data brief said.

The survey also found that as age increased, the percentage of adults who lacked reliable transportation decreased. While 7% of those aged 18–34 lacked transportation, the number dropped to 4.5% among adults ages 65 and older.

In terms of race and ethnicity, ​​American Indian and Alaska Native non-Hispanic adults were the most likely to lack reliable transportation, at a rate of 17.1%, compared with 9.2% of Black non-Hispanic people, 7.6% of adults who self-identified as "other" or multi-race, 6.9% of Hispanics, 4.8 percent of white people, and 3.6 percent of Asian adults.

The percentage of adults who lacked reliable transportation for daily living decreased as family income increased, ranging from 15.8% among adults with family incomes less than the federal poverty level to 2.9% among adults with family incomes of four times the federal poverty level or greater. The percentage also decreased with increasing educational level, from 9.7% among adults with less than a high school diploma or GED to 3.8% among adults with a college degree or higher.

The CDC said, "The inclusion of the transportation barrier question, starting with the 2022 NHIS, allows for further monitoring of this indicator as it relates to health outcomes and healthcare use."

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