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Health and Medical Care among the Children of Immigrants


  • The first author would like to thank the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program at Harvard University. Support to the second author was provided in part by a Young Scholar Award from the Changing Faces of America’s Children program at the Foundation for Child Development.

concerning this article should be addressed to Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. Electronic mail may be sent to


Using data spanning 1996–2009 from multiple panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study investigates children’s (average age 8.5 years) physical health, dental visits, and doctor contact among low-income children (= 46,148) in immigrant versus native households. Immigrant households are further distinguished by household citizenship and immigration status. The findings show that children residing in households with non-naturalized citizen parents, particularly those with a nonpermanent resident parent, experience worse health and less access to care even when controlling for important demographic, socioeconomic, and health insurance variables.