Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Second Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Third Committee Member

Paulo Pinheiro

Fourth Committee Member

Alan Schlottmann

Number of Pages



Recessions are generally considered to cause negative consequences, but recent studies have provided evidence that some health outcomes improve as the economy deteriorates. The relationship between economic downfalls and health is not straightforward; it is important to look at how health has been impacted in one of the areas hit hardest by the recession. Las Vegas, Nevada was previously considered recession-proof, seemingly unaffected by previous economic downturns exhibited by the rest of the country. However, during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, Las Vegas led the country in highest rates of unemployment and foreclosures. This was quite a collapse for a city that previously led the country in population and job growth for several decades.

Using data from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), this study examined the effect of unemployment rates on the health status for adults living in Las Vegas, Nevada. This study aimed to contribute to the understanding of how recessions impact health by evaluating BRFSS data that proceeds, coincides, and follows the Great Recession (2006-2011). Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to understand to what extent health status has been impacted for groups based on employment and health insurance status, as well as several demographic factors. Results show that employment status was associated with fair to poor health before and after, but not during the recession. Individual level of education was the biggest risk factor of fair to poor health while younger age was protective against fair to poor health. These findings are important in future work to improve health by considering economic and demographic implications that may reduce those suffering from poor health.


Demographics; Employment; Health; Nevada; Recession; Unemployment


Biostatistics | Epidemiology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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