More Children of Immigrants in ‘Poor or Fair’ Health Than Children of U.S.-Born Parents, Report Finds
Children of immigrants are more than twice as likely to be in "poor or fair" health as children of U.S.-born parents, according to a new report released on Nov. 26 by the Urban Institute, the Omaha World-Herald reports (Gonzalez, Omaha World-Herald, 11/27). The Urban Institute based the report, titled "The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families," on responses to the 1999 National Survey of America's Families, which interviewed more than 42,000 U.S. households. The report found that 9% of children of immigrants were in poor or fair health, compared to 4% of children of U.S.-born parents. The health of children of immigrants also "declines more rapidly" than children of U.S.-born parents as they age, the report found. About 7% of children of immigrants younger than age 11 were in poor or fair health, and 13% of those ages 12 to 17 were in poor or fair health, a difference of six percentage points, the report found. However, the difference between the two age groups among children of U.S.-born parents was only two percentage points, according to the report.
The report also found that the health disparities increased between children of low-income immigrants and low-income U.S.-born parents. The report found that 12% of children of low-income immigrants ages five and younger were in poor or fair health, compared to 5% of children of low-income U.S.-born parents in the same age group; 19% of children of low-income immigrants ages 12 to 17 were in poor or fair health, compared to 9% of children of U.S.-born parents in the same age group (Reardon-Anderson et al., "The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families," 11/26). Factors that may contribute to the health disparities among immigrant families include lower incomes, a lack of health insurance and limited access to Medicaid. Mary Ramey, an expert on Hispanic health care, added that many immigrants are "uncomfortable" with the U.S. health care system. "These immigrants come from places without access to health care, or they rely on different methods of care," she said (Branan, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 11/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.