Social Determinants of Health Chapter uri icon


  • Greater appreciation for and focus on the social determinants of health have evolved over the last decade, both in the United States1-3 and worldwide. Generally, social determinants of health refer to the complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems that are responsible for most health inequities. Stated alternatively, social determinants of health represent nonmedical factors that affect both the average and distribution of health within populations, including distal determinants (political, legal, institutional, and cultural factors) and proximal determinants (socioeconomic status, physical environment, family and social networks, and demographics). The social determinants of health encompass the circumstances in which people are born, live, work, and age, and the systems in place to treat ill persons. Thus, social determinants of health involve local, state, and federal policies, programs, and institutions, as well as private sectors and community factors.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ferdinand, A. O.

complete list of authors

  • Ferdinand, AO

editor list (cited editors)

  • Bolin, J. N., Bellamy, G., Ferdinand, A. O., Kash, B. A., & Helduser, J. W.

Book Title

  • Rural Healthy People 2020 Volume 2

publication date

  • January 2015