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Population Health in the United States and Canada

The United States and Canada are considered to be among the most developed countries in the world. They have many connections due to historical circumstances, shared culture, and geographical positions. Therefore, the population health of both states has many similarities. At the same time, it is possible to recognize several differences. Undoubtedly, the issue should be further explored to obtain valuable insights and design the most effective healthcare approaches.

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To begin with, it is obvious that the health outcomes of the U.S. and Canada are rather similar, as both are among high-income countries. However, while comparing the population health of only developed states, many differences become apparent. For example, Tikkanen and Abrams gathered much data on 11 countries with effective health systems, such as Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France.

The researchers concluded that there are the lowest life expectancy, the highest suicide and obesity rates, and the highest chronic disease burden among adults in the U.S (Tikkanen & Abrams, 2020). In contrast, Canada demonstrates average results among the high-income states. Therefore, in general, Canadians’ health outcomes appear to be better than those prevailing among Americans. Besides, the states often face similar epidemic diseases such as influenza, which later became endemic, due to their geographical positions.

Unfortunately, inequalities are present within both counties, though the governments, healthcare leaders, and social activists work diligently to effectively deal with them. Ramraj et al. (2016) note that health inequalities patterns differ across the United States and Canada, as black-white and Hispanic-white disparities predominate in the former, while aboriginal-white inequalities are common in the latter. It had become perfectly evident in 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak when minorities suffered the most.

Moreover, poverty rates in the United States and Canada are almost similar, though the governments approach the issue rather differently. In the U.S., healthcare is provided by many private organizations, while in Canada, Canadian Medicare, funded by the government, offers universal access to care for all citizens without financial barriers. Ramraj et al. (2016) emphasize “lower levels of income inequality, higher levels of social cohesion, and the universality of programs and services all converge to promote better population health outcomes” in Canada (p. 20). Simultaneously, in the U.S., Medicaid, funded by states and the federal government, provides low-income people with free health insurance.

Furthermore, the states allocate different percentages of their GDP to health care services. According to Tikkanen and Abrams (2020), the U.S spent about 17% of its GDP on health care. This number is significantly lower in Canada, as it is approximately 11% (Tikkanen & Abrams, 2020). Nevertheless, health outcomes experienced by Americans are worse than those prevailing among Canadians. One of the reasons for it is that much money is spent on modern technologies in the United States.

Finally, fortunately, there are numerous healthcare leaders within both countries, who invest much time and effort in improving the population’s health. It is noted that “Using epidemiology can improve the decision-making process, particularly if enlightened leadership is focused on improving population health and not exclusively on the bottom line” (Fleming, 2015, p. 13). For instance, Tejal Gandhi has endeavored to improve patient safety in the United States, while Peter Singer has dedicated his time to solving various health and social problems. They motivate individuals worldwide to try to make a positive impact on the health outcomes of their nations.

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In conclusion, Canada and the United States are similar while comparing with other countries. However, if analyzing health outcomes of high-income states, many differences arise. The population health is worse in the U.S, though the country invests much money in modern technologies, which can improve the situation. Canada provides universal access to care among its citizens, but disparities are still present. In general, in both countries, the governments and leaders endeavor to improve their healthcare systems.


Fleming, S. T. (Ed.). (2015). Managerial epidemiology: Cases & concepts (3rd ed.). Health Administration Press.

Ramraj, C., Shahidi, F. V., Darity, W., Jr., Kawachi, I., Zuberi, D., & Siddiqi, A. (2016). Equally inequitable? A cross-national comparative study of racial health inequalities in the United States and Canada. Social Science & Medicine, 161, 19–26. Web.

Tikkanen, R., & Abrams, M. K. (2020). U.S. health care from a global perspective, 2019: Higher spending, worse outcomes? The Commonwealth Fund. Web.

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