Children's health, access to care differ by parents' immigrant status

September 11, 2012

Health is an important part of development, with links to how children do cognitively and academically, and it's a strong predictor of adult health and productivity. A new study of low-income families in the United States has found that children's health and access to health care services differ according to the immigrant status of their parents.

The study, by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Chicago, is published in the journal Child Development, whose September/October 2012 issue has a special section on the children of immigrants.

Although immigrants make up less than 13 percent of the total population, children of immigrants make up 22 percent of all children and 30 percent of low-income children in the United States. Because most children in immigrant families were born in the United States, they are eligible for government assistance on the same basis as all other U.S. citizens. Yet they differ in the extent to which they have health insurance and use a regular health care provider.

The study examined nationally representative data on more than 46,000 low-income children (under age 18) from the 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, a Census Bureau survey. Children's immigrant status was classified according to the status of their parents as nonpermanent residents, permanent residents, naturalized citizens, or members of a native household. The study looked at the health status of the children as reported by their mothers and at whether the children saw a dentist or doctor in the past year.

Researchers found that low-income children of immigrants have significantly less good health and see doctors and dentists less often than low-income native-born children. Children with at least one nonpermanent resident parent have the poorest health and are least likely to visit a doctor or a dentist compared to all other children.

"Our findings underscore the idea that those with more precarious immigration statuses show the poorest health outcomes, and that families with noncitizen members face barriers, real or perceived, to using relevant programs--in this case, health-related programs," according to Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, who led the study.

"Noncitizen parents may be unaware of their U.S.-born children's eligibility for important benefits, or they may believe that seeking assistance for eligible children would hinder other family members' efforts to obtain citizenship or legal status, or their ability to re-enter and stay in the United States."
-end-


Society for Research in Child Development

Related Immigrants Articles from Brightsurf:

Immigrants who naturalize outearn their peers
Looking at municipalities in Switzerland where citizenship applications were put to a popular vote, researchers identified immigrants who narrowly won or lost and tracked their earnings over the next several decades.

US-born residents more than 5 times likely to use prescription opioids than new immigrants
The longer immigrants live in the United States, the more likely they are to use prescription opioids -- a fact that contradicts popular views linking wealth and health, and suggests that American culture is uniquely favorable toward prescribing opioids.

Length of time in US associated with immigrants' opioid use
The more time first-generation immigrants spend in the United States the more likely it appears they will use prescription opioids.

Undocumented immigrants' transplant survival rates on par with US citizens'
Unauthorized immigrants who receive liver transplants in the United States have comparable three-year survival rates to US citizens, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Immigrants who committed felonies less likely than nonimmigrants to commit another felony
A new study compared recidivism rates of foreign-born and native-born individuals formerly incarcerated for felonies and released from prisons in Florida.

Uncovering the roots of discrimination toward immigrants
Immigrants are often encouraged to assimilate into their new culture as a way of reducing conflict with their host societies, to appear less threatening to the culture and national identity of the host population.

Immigrants: citizens' acceptance depends on questions asked
How many immigrants per year should Switzerland be prepared to welcome?

How societal attitudes, political rhetoric affect immigrants' health
For immigrants to the United States, the current political climate, and debates over issues such as a border wall, become part of the environment that influences their health, according to a new University of Washington study.

UK prejudice against immigrants amongst lowest in Europe
A new study published in Frontiers in Sociology challenges prevailing attitudes on Brexit, the nature of prejudice, and the social impact of modernization.

Research shows biases against immigrants with non-anglicized names
Using variations of the 'trolley-dilemma' where people choose who to save or not save others in a hypothetical situation, social psychologists show that for certain groups, under certain conditions in a hypothetical scenario, having an anglicized name means you're more likely to be saved than if you kept your original Asian or Arab name.

Read More: Immigrants News and Immigrants Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.