Access to Healthcare Among Working-Aged Hispanic Adults in the United States


  • * Direct correspondence to T. Elizabeth Durden, at the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837 〈〉. The first author will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study. This work was supported, in part, by NICHD Grant 1-R01-043371. The authors gratefully acknowledge computing assistance from Starling Pullum and helpful comments from Yolanda Padilla, Marc Musick, Parker Frisbie, and three anonymous reviewers.


Objectives. The purpose of this research is to examine differences in access to and sources of healthcare for working-aged adults among major Hispanic subpopulations of the United States. Nativity, duration in the United States, citizenship, and sociodemographic factors are considered as key predictors of access to and sources of care.

Methods. Using pooled National Health Interview Surveys from 1999–2001, logistic and multinomial logistic regression models are estimated that compare Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and other Hispanics with non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites.

Results. Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics display significantly less access to care than non-Hispanics whites, with immigrant status and socioeconomic status variables accounting for some, but not all, of the differences. For sources of care, Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic adults were all much more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report clinics or emergency rooms as their source of regular care.

Conclusions. There are wide differences in access to and sources of care across racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Mexican-American adults, regardless if born in Mexico or the United States, appear to be most in need of access to regular and high-quality care. Naturalization may be an especially important factor in greater access to regular and high-quality care for Hispanic immigrants.