Hispanic Immigrant Access to Federally Qualified Health Centers in Established Gateways and New Destinations

Emily Parker , Cornell University

Although immigrants are excluded from many public assistance programs, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are one program that immigrants are able to use regardless of financial resources, health insurance, or legal status. Using historical administrative data joined with Decennial Census data from 1970-2010, this study documents how Hispanics are differentially exposed to FQHCs depending on where they live. I use spatial demographic techniques to explore geographic variation in the proximity and exposure to FQHCs at the tract-level for Hispanics relative to the non-Hispanic white population. Findings show that Hispanics have historically had greater exposure to FQHCs than whites. However, Hispanics settling in New Destinations have had less access to FQHCs than those in Established Gateways during the major Hispanic migration waves of the 1990s and 2000s. This study contends that proximity to FQHCs is a crucial yet underexplored mechanism in understanding spatial inequalities in access to health care.

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 Presented in Session 162. Immigration Policy and Immigrant Well-being