Rich Diversity of Queens Poses Healthcare Challenges

A Message from Queens Chamber of Commerce President Mayra Dirico

Health and wellness has a direct economic impact on Queens Chamber members and the Queens business community at large. As the saying goes, “You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”
This is why the Queens Chamber has started a Healthcare & Wellness Committee. The goal is to keep our members connected to the best access to and information regarding affordable healthcare, insurance, ambulatory and nursing care, etc.
When researching New York City community health profiles, I came across some staggering statistics. We all know that economic status and legal status as an American are immensely important when it comes to the healthcare a person receives. Unfortunately, these factors also play a direct role with how a person makes healthcare decisions.
Out of the five boroughs, Queens has four of the top five highest neighborhood percentages of individuals born outside the U.S. Neighborhoods like Elmhurst and Corona, Jackson Heights, Flushing and Whitestone, and Woodside and Sunnyside lead the way.
In each of these neighborhoods, the percentage of people born outside the United States ranges from 57 to 66 percent. That is astounding. This is why the Queens Chamber of Commerce must and will continue to be proactive and engage with all of our diverse communities.
The average household income in Queens is $74,962 and the per capita income is $26,580. The poverty rate in Queens is high at 15.4 percent, and the highest poverty rates are concentrated in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona. Residents in these neighborhoods are on average 20 to 29 percent below the federal poverty level.
Queens’ socioeconomics are further explained by its high unemployment rate. The unemployment rate in Queens is 12.7 percent. This is nearly double the New York State unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, and in some neighborhoods such as Jamaica and Hollis, unemployment may be as high as 20 percent.
Education may have the strongest correlation to health outcomes. Sixty-eight percent of Queens students graduate from high school, and 62.1 percent of residents have attended at least some college.
In addition, nearly 20 percent of Queens residents have less than a high school diploma. However, if we look more closely at Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona, we see that between 29 and 45 percent of residents did not complete high school.
The Queens Chamber is doing everything it can to make the lives of our members and our borough constituents easier. Please reach out to us if we can be of assistance in any way.

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