More than one in five U.S. adults who do not have a car and have limited access to public transit said in a recent poll they have forgone needed health care in the past year.
The poll from the Urban Institute found that 21 percent of those without access to a car or reliable public transit in their area said they went without necessary health care because of difficulty finding transportation.
However, this number dropped to 9 percent among those who don’t have access to a car but reported good public transportation, the poll found.
Having access to a car also makes a difference in obtaining health care, with 13 percent of those without a vehicle saying they skipped out on necessary medical care over transportation issues, compared to just 4 percent of those with a car.
Black and Hispanic adults were significantly less likely to have access to a car, according to the poll. While 94 percent and 93 percent each of white and Asian adults said they had access to a car, respectively, 81 percent of Black adults and 87 percent of Hispanic adults said they did not.
White and Asian adults were also less likely to forgo necessary health over transportation issues, with just 4 percent and 2 percent saying as much, respectively. Eight percent of Black adults and 7 percent of Hispanic adults missed out on medical care because of difficulty finding transportation.
Low-income families also were less likely to have access to a car, at 73 percent, and more likely to have forgone needed health care over transportation issues, at 14 percent, the poll found.
Among those with disabilities, 83 percent said they have access to a car, but 17 percent said transportation problems caused them to skip out on medical care.
“Our study finds that access to public transportation is associated with improved access to health care itself … suggesting that investments in public transit may be a tool to promote health equity,” the Urban Institute’s report noted.