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Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors of racial/ethnic groups in New York City between as of 2008 – particularly the utilization of public health insurance (PHI) benefits.

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: Of the 25% of New Yorkers receiving PHI in 2008, the absolute number of whites, blacks and Latinos receiving PHI was similar. However, greater proportions of Latinos (26%), non-Hispanic blacks (21%), and Asians (21%) received PHI than non-Hispanic whites (9%). Women comprised 60% of all PHI recipients. Nearly two-thirds of black and Latino PHI recipients were women compared with 54% of Asian and 49% of white recipients. This was in all likelihood because of the fact that more black and Latino households were headed by women. About two-thirds of all PHI recipients in New York City had not been educated beyond high school, although 12% had graduated from college. Among Latinos 72% had not moved beyond a high school diploma compared with about two-thirds of blacks and Asians, and 50% of whites. Thus, Hispanics had significantly greater proportions of their populations who were less educated receiving PHI.

Discussion: About 60% of all PHI recipients were either out of the work force or unemployed. Interestingly enough about two-third of all non-Hispanic white and black recipients were in these two categories compared with about 60% of Latinos and Asians. Additionally while 58% of all PHI recipients lived in poverty in New York City in 2008, there were significantly smaller proportions of whites (40%) and Asians (49%) living in poverty than Latinos and blacks, about 60% each. Thus, there was an association between not working and poverty and those receiving PHI.


For additional information about this collection see

Citation information: Varra, R. (2010). Public Health Insurance Utilization in New York City, 2008. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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