Employment and Health

Employment provides income and other resources that lead to better health. Depending on our jobs, employment can also give us a sense of purpose, social contact, and opportunities for personal growth. Conversely, unemployment has been linked to poor health, and those with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to work in occupations that have unhealthy working conditions and lack the type of benefits needed to help them stay healthy.

Source: Santa Clara County Public Health. "Santa Clara County Public Health. Health and Social Equity in Santa Clara County.” 2011. (accessed February 5, 2014)

On average, American adults spend nearly half of their waking hours at work. Where we work influences our health, not only by exposing us to physical conditions that have health effects, but also by providing a setting where healthy activities and behaviors can be promoted. In addition to features of worksites, the nature of the work we do and how it is organized also can affect our physical and mental health. Work can provide a sense of identity, social status and purpose in life, as well as social support. For most Americans, employment is the primary source of income, giving them the means to live in homes and neighborhoods that promote health and to pursue health-promoting behaviors. In addition, most Americans obtain their health care insurance through their jobs. Not only does work affect health; health also affects work. Good health is often needed for employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Lack of employment among those who are unable to work because of ill health can lead to further economic and social disadvantage and fewer resources and opportunities to improve health, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Source: Robert Wood Johnson, Commission to Build a Healthier America Work, Workplaces and Health, Issue Brief #9, Exploring the Social Determinants of Health”, April 2011.  (accessed July 1, 2015)


Other SDOH

Neighborhood Conditions
Access to Health Care

Additional SDOH Resources

Center for Health Statistics
Minnesota Department of Health
Golden Rule Building, 3rd Floor
85 East Seventh Place
PO Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. 55164-0882
E-mail: *mdh_healthstats@state.mn.us

Updated Monday, April 25, 2016 at 04:01PM