Access to Preventive Services for Adults of Mexican Origin

  • Steven Wallace
  • Veronica F. Gutierrez St. Joseph Health System, Department of Community Outreach
  • Xochitl Castaneda California-Mexico Health Initiative, California Policy Research Center
Keywords: Emigration and Immigration, Hispanic Americans, Health Promotion, Health Services Accessibility, Preventive Services


Immigrants arrive in the U.S. with better than average health which declines over time. Access to clinical preventive services can prevent or delay some of that decline. This analysis documents barriers in access to preventive services for recent Mexican immigrants, longer-term Mexican immigrants, and U.S. born adults of Mexican. Contrary to political debates about Mexican immigrants overusing health services, the analysis finds that immigrants in the U.S. for less than 10 years were the least likely to receive preventive care services, even after adjusting for other predictors. Longer-term immigrants were more similar to U.S.-born Mexican Americans in preventive service use rates, who in turn had lower rates than U.S.-born non-Latino whites. Demographics, socioeconomic status and other resources attenuated but did not eliminate all inequities. Among Mexican immigrants, monolingual Spanish speaking immigrants were least likely to have had appropriate preventive services. The persistent gap in preventive service use across all subgroups of adults of Mexican origin suggests potential structural barriers to receiving appropriate care.


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