Introduction: This report analyzes how well the residents of Washington Heights/Inwood (WH/IN) have fared on selected health indicators set forth by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygene between 2000 and 2005.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: Immigrant families in particular face a multitude of health concerns, as well as specific barriers to accessing health care services. The socioeconomic and health disparities faced by WH/IN residents lead to the recognition that health promotion and disease management in immigrant communities such as WH/IN can be most effective by way of improvements in the socioeconomic conditions of residents. Although health insurance coverage has been found to be an important predictor of access to health care, our findings show that WH/IN residents are less likely to have health insurance than their NYC peers, with low-income Dominicans having the highest rate of Medicaid coverage among all foreign-born and Mexicans being the immigrant group most likely to be uninsured. In addition, over a third of the adult population in WH/IN was without a regular health-care provider in 2005.
Discussion: Understanding the ecology of existing health disparities of immigrant communities such as the one in WH/IN may move NYC closer to meeting the unique needs of this growing population, both currently and in the future, and provide insights into how to address future immigrant health challenges.