Most Vulnerable Communities Lack Access to Water and Sanitation in US
Vulnerable communities disproportionately lack access to water and sanitation, in part due to discriminatory practices embedded in some past water infrastructure development initiatives. Native Americans have the least access to sanitation and are 19 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than their white counterparts. African American and Latinx households lack indoor plumbing at almost twice the rate of white households, according to the report. Race is the strongest predictor of whether a household has access to water and sanitation in the US, according to the report. About 0.3% of white households don’t have complete plumbing, versus 5.8% of Native American households, and 0.5% of African American and Latinx households.
When people lack access to water and sanitation, they are more susceptible to disease and have a harder time securing employment and receiving an education, making it harder to break poverty cycles. Historical and geographical factors have deprived communities of these basic needs. Federal water-infrastructure funding has dwindled over the decades, which has affected underserved communities that didn’t have much investment from the government to begin with.