Oakland Let’s Talk About Health DIsparities


Did you know that, “An African-American born in West Oakland can expect to die almost 15 years earlier than a White person born in the Oakland Hills”(Schell). This startling statistic by a UC Berkeley graduate school of journalism student named Brittany Schell shows how early death could be caused by many problems like violence, health, or poverty. Today we are going to focus more on how someone’s class in Oakland has effects on citizen’s health.


Access to Food

Food is very important to someone’s health, and food is something that humans consume every single day. An organization called Youth Uprising that is working to make East Oakland a healthier and safer community stated, “There is a tremendous disparity in residents’ access to grocery stores—in Oakland’s poorer “flatland” neighborhoods there is 1 supermarket for every 93,216 residents, compared to the more affluent “hills” communities which have 1 supermarket per 13,778 residents”(Youth Uprising). This clearly emphasizes how Oakland residents that live in the “flats” of Oakland or low-income places have a hard time accessing food meanwhile the people who live in the “hills” of Oakland have easier access to food due to high class residents. Somebody’s wealth does not have to determine the access that people have to their food and the fact that 93,216 residents in Oakland have access to 1 supermarket makes it unfair for them because food is something that we need everyday to keep us healthy. There are about 425,195 people living in Oakland (World Population Review) this means that some people have a easier time going to the grocery store than other people do which an issue because everybody should have easy access to something that is needed everyday. I live in Oakland and in my experience where I live I do not see as many supermarkets and grocery stores as other places in Oakland. I have to drive into the other town in order to get my necessary foods that are important to my health.


Access to Health Care

Health care can also be a big problem for those people who are in low-income and those people who are wealthy because people who live in low-income communities can’t access that great health care that wealthy people in Oakland can. When it comes to money there are many advantages and disadvantages. For example, if somebody is very wealthy they have the money to pay for their health care and necessary items to have a healthy life. But for those in low-income communities, they may experience problems when it comes to getting health care. Tani Camacho, a health worker from a non-profit clinic in a Oakland middle/high school said, “People who live in wealthier places tend to have better access more to the things that they need in their life such as getting check ups, surgery, and medications those things which most of the times isn’t free which makes those people live a more healthier life. Meanwhile somebody who is is in the lower-class may not be able to access those opportunities that wealthy people get. And I think that this is unfair because every human being should have the access to what they need to live a healthy life”(Camacho).  Everybody should have the opportunity to have healthcare regardless of their money status because as she said those people who live in wealthier places in Oakland can have easier access to better healthcare and pay for those needs like she said: check ups, surgery, and medications. But for those people who live in lower-class places in Oakland, the citizens have a hard time accessing those important needs that benefit their health and it is unfortunate that money plays a big roll on trying to have health care that fits their needs the best.


Access to Preventative Health

Low-income communities in Oakland have a hard time accessing preventative health activities but people who are wealthy have the opportunity to access those preventative health activities. At first preventative health might seem really confusing but to break it down, preventative health can be like exercising, sleeping well, eating well, and taking medications. These are some examples on how to prevent citizens from being unhealthy. But when it comes to low-income people vs wealthy people access to preventative health can be really different for both classes. For example, an average gym membership can cost about $40, for a person who lives in the more wealthier parts of Oakland this is a small price for having access to exercising and being healthy, meanwhile for a person in a low-income community in Oakland this could be so difficult to access due to their money status. This is unfair for those people trying to live a healthier life for themselves and the fact that wealthier people can have the choice of wanting to go to a gym but a person of lower-class is unable to have this opportunity to be healthy. The Alameda County Public Health Department discussed  how people who live in lower-class communities don’t have as much access to the resources that they need in order to be healthy, the PDF reads, “This is similar to the pattern we see for life expectancy. Many of the highest poverty neighborhoods in the County suffer from the poorest health outcomes because of fewer access to health‐supporting opportunities and resources and more health risks in these places”(ACPD). The fact that people who live in lower-income communities lack access to health-supporting opportunities and resources proves that money plays a big roll in your health because people who live in lower-class community have much less opportunities than those who live in wealthier communities like paying medications, getting access to preventative health services, and food. This is affecting the majority of Oakland because most residents in Oakland are in low-income which this means that about 300,000 people don’t get as much access to preventative health opportunities. An Oakland resident named Dallana Mendoza-Oliva who has lived in Oakland since she was born and she had this to say, “Low-income communities cannot receive the exercise that they need because for a gym membership that’s like so expensive which makes those people not have the opportunity to go to a place where they can exercise and feel safe, also the low-income communities can be dangerous and people going out for a jog or going out for a run or walk may feel unsafe in their community. But for the rich people there is no problem relating to access to gym’s they can afford that and also they live in safe and nice locations where they don’t feel unsafe by walking, running, or jogging”(Mendoza-Oliva). The differences that Dallana Mendoza-Oliva referenced can be super difficult for lower-class people they just do not have the opportunities that wealthier people have. The lower-class part of Oakland cannot have that opportunity to be healthy which can cause them to give and this leads to them having a unhealthy life for themselves and their families.



Now that we know a lot about how someone’s health can affect or impact them due to their class, some solutions that can try to make a more equitable health in Oakland. First, every single citizen in Oakland should receive free health care because somebody’s health is very important in their life. If Oakland offered free healthcare for every citizen that people in Oakland will have a better and healthier life for themselves. Additionally, Oakland should have way more supermarkets in the communities because access to food should not be something that is complicated to get and from experience if Oakland had more supermarkets in their community that it would make many people’s lives easier to access the necessary things they need. Also that prices for preventative health opportunities should be lower in order to fit all citizens money status and should be affordable for every single person living in Oakland. Something that can take these solution one step further can be getting the word out there to the public and be shared to solve these problems in Oakland to make the citizens of Oakland feel and be healthier.



In conclusion, someone’s money status in Oakland does affect their health because people who live in low-income communities lack enough access to supermarkets to buy food. Additionally, healthcare for low-income communities can be a problem for them to access due to their money status. Also the wealthy people of Oakland have the opportunities to have access to preventative health activities but low-income communities have a hard time trying to access those opportunities. Lastly, in order to try to make health equitable in Oakland these solutions need to happen.


Work Cited


Schell, Brittany. “The Pulse of Oakland By Brittany Schell.” The Pulse of Oakland, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, 2013, thepulseofoakland.com/.


The article titled “The pulse of Oakland” talking about how people in oakland who live in the west side have more dangers to their health than those who live in the hills which isn’t fair how people’s wealth can affect their health so much. This source is credible because this article is trying to show the inequalities in oakland and how they affect people’s lives. Also it is by a UC Berkeley Graduate of Journalism named Brittany Schell.

“Health.” Youth UpRising, www.youthuprising.org/issues-responses/health/. This quote is from Youth Uprising in East Oakland and is about how “poorer” Oakland residents have less access to foods than more wealthier residents in Oakland.


This quote is showing how more wealthier people have easier access towards necessary things. This source is credible because Youth Uprising is an organization that wants to transform East Oakland into a healthier and more economical community. Also Youth Uprising is a non-profit organization trying to help out the Oakland community.


“Oakland, California Population 2018.” Total Population by Country 2018, worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/oakland-population/.


The information is Updated in 2018 which means I am getting the best information on the population in Oakland. This site also provides areas in Oakland and demographics of Oakland.


“East and West Oakland Health Data Existing Cumulative Health Impacts.” Alameda County Public Health Department, 3 Sept. 2015, www.acphd.org/media/401560/cumulative-health-impacts-east-west-oakland.pdf.


This quote is from PDF which is explaining how those people who live in high poverty places have less health supporting opportunities and resources for them. This source is credible because this PDF is showing health disparities in oakland and how this can impact a lot of people in oakland.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Oakland Let’s Talk About Health DIsparities by Oscar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Jesus Morales 2 months ago

    I did the same thing for my project when I was in 8th grade to graduate.

  2. Author
    Oscar 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for reading my blog! I appreciate all of the feedback that you gave me, I will consider looking in more depth about what you suggested. Just to clarify the ¨wealthy people¨ people that I meansion is the people who live in the hills of Oakland, I do not know exactly how much they make but I´d say no minimum than 100,000 per year. I love how you included how I should include access to grocery stores and access to fast food chains I think that is a great idea. Although those ideas are great I don´t really understand SES (socioeconomics status). I hope you can explain to me in more depth about it because I am really interested. I hope to you can comment in order so we can talk more. Thank you so much.

  3. Ariana 2 months ago

    Hello Oscar,
    To start off you got my attention when you included the quote of African Americans born in West Oakland are expected to die 15 years earlier than a White person. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised reading this comment due to everything happening in society such as racial prejudice, redlining and police brutality. Unfortunately, one’s socioeconomic status (SES) affects the health benefits and insurance they receive. Everyone has access to healthcare but for lower SES their insurance doesn’t cover much therefore, they can’t afford many services or treatments as those in higher SES due to money.
    I suggest looking into redlining and how one’s SES weighs in whether they have more access to grocery stores compared to fast food chains, access to certain facilities such as gyms, parks, etc. In addition, when you say wealthy people, who are those wealthy people? The middle class? The 1% percent? Families earning over 50,000 dollars a year? In addition, you should expand more with what your solutions are because it’s a great start but not enough to make a change. Please clarify this but other than that I enjoyed reading your blog.

  4. Victor 3 months ago

    Dear, Oscar

    I really like your topics because it really connects to Oakland and what is happening in the world. Also a line that stood out to me was when you said “An African-American born in West Oakland can expect to die almost 15 years earlier than a White person born in the Oakland Hills”(Schell). This line really stood out to me because I didn’t know that fact and it really surprises me that is happening in the world.
    • Author
      Oscar 3 months ago

      Thank you so much for reading my blog. The part of your comment that stood out to me was the fact that you were surprised about the fact that I showed and I thought I did a good job. A question I have for you, Do you agree with my solutions that will make Oakland a better place? Look forward to hearing back!

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