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Quick Facts About Minorities in Virginia


In 2005, 18.8% of Black Virginians lived below the federal poverty level, compared to 11.8% of Latinos, 9.9% of American Indians, and 7.6% of Whites. Poverty rates increase from 7.8% in the largest metropolitan counties to 17.6% in the smallest, most rural counties in Virginia.  

Rural Health

In 2005, of the 10 counties with the highest hospital discharge rates for ambulatory sensitive conditions, 9 were rural.  

Life Expectancy

In 2005, the infant mortality rate for Black Virginians was 2.4 times greater than for White Virginians.

In 2004, the life expectancy for White Virginians was 78.6 years, compared to 73.4 years for African Americans (Virginia Center for Health Statistics, 2006).

Non English Speaking/foreign Born

11% of Virginia residents over age 5 speak a primary language other than English.

Of this population...

  • 41% speak English "less than very well"
  • 21% live in "linguistically isolated households" (households where no member 14 years old and over speaks "only English" or ...speaks English "very well")  
  • 10.1% of Virginians are considered foreign born.  

Chronic Diseases

  • Latinos reported the highest prevalence of asthma in the state in 2003 (10.5% vs. 7.0% for Whites), while African-American males had an asthma mortality rate twice that of White males and African-American females had an asthma mortality rate 1.6 times higher than White females.  
  • In 2003, a diagnosis of diabetes was reported among 13.7% of the lowest income Virginians, compared to 4.5% of those with the highest income.  
  • Black males and females have the highest mortality rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD) at all ages, except 85 and older.  


In 2005, African-Americans accounted for 20% of the state’s population, but 60% of the cases of HIV.  In the same year, Latinos accounted for 6% of the population, but 9 % of the cases of HIV.  In comparison, Whites accounted for 74% of the population, but 30% of the cases (VDH Division of Disease Prevention, HIV/STD Annual Statistics, 2005).  

Last Updated: 04-01-2013

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