Global Trends
Global Trends

To build a future where all communities thrive, and health equity is a reality, we must learn how others around the globe are reinventing their systems to dismantle barriers to health and wellbeing.

No matter where we are in the world, we all want the opportunity to live our fullest life possible. 

We all want to live in a community where our loved ones have access to healthy foods, inviting green spaces, and safe affordable housing. A community where we engage, support, and maintain the health of our caregivers and grandparents.

But we don’t all have the same opportunities to make those dreams come true. Across the U.S., people separated by only a short drive or a few subway stops may have life expectancy gaps of up to 20 years. Discrimination and racism limit opportunities for many of us in jobs, education, lending, housing and the legal system. This is not inevitable; it is not the result of “poor decisions” or “bad genes” or even poverty. This is the result of unfair laws and policies that value some people more than others. 

A different future is possible. Many places around the world are addressing their own structural inequities and working toward repairing, solving, and sustaining changes to move them closer to health equity.  What can we learn from community leaders, policymakers, and health practitioners abroad that might help our communities in the U.S. thrive? 

To begin answering these questions, RWJF partnered with global experts to identify emerging health equity trends around the world and to find what other countries are doing to address them. 

The trends highlighted in this report—and the ways countries are grappling with them—demonstrate that collective power and community wisdom can help transform institutions, systems, and social practices that obstruct equal opportunity for good health.

The role of climate change and artificial intelligence will be evident in all trends, as these two factors are impacting the health equity landscape now and will continue to do so for years to come.

Trends to Watch

Growing Calls for More Equitable Care Work Illustration Mobile

Growing Calls for More Equitable Care Work

Recognizing, reducing, and redistributing unpaid care work, which are disproportionately carried out by women, is key to supporting women’s economic empowerment and health equity.

Compounding Housing Crisis Illustration Mobile

Compounding Housing Crisis

Inflation, climate change, migration, and urbanization are exacerbating the global housing crisis, with significant implications for health outcomes.

Public Spaces Illustration Mobile

Growing Demands for Healthy Public Spaces

The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a redefinition of public spaces, with communities calling for more equitable, healthy public spaces that increase social connection.

Digital Health Information Illustration Mobile

Surge in Digital Health Information Impacting Wellbeing

Increasing access to digital and personalized health information is shifting the role that individuals play in their own health journeys.

Nutrition Illustration Mobile

Increasing Risks to Nutrition Security

Climate change, inflation, and global shocks are undermining nutrition security, worsening nutrition-related health outcomes and impacting livelihoods.

Longevity Illustration Mobile

Greater Longevity

Lifespans are increasing, making it crucial for communities and health systems to support the health of older adults and value their contributions to society.

Solutions from Around the World

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What's Next?

The examples spotlighted in these trends are more than isolated illustrations; they are embers of inspiration for different choices we could make.

Communities around the world have taken steps to anchor health equity within institutions, systems, and social practices that have previously obstructed equal opportunity. We see sweeping policy solutions that have fundamentally altered cities’ or countries’ approaches to social determinants of health.

We can learn a great deal when we open ourselves to ideas and experiences from outside our borders with respect and enthusiasm for how they might help us address our own challenges.


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