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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 512313, 21 pages
Research Article

Immigrant Health Inequalities in the United States: Use of Eight Major National Data Systems

1US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18-41, Rockville, MD 20857, USA
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, 3851 Rosecrans Street, Mailstop P575, Suite 715, San Diego, CA 92110, USA

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 23 September 2013

Academic Editors: J. Hofmann, C. A. Perez, and M. F. Romano

Copyright © 2013 Gopal K. Singh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Eight major federal data systems, including the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), National Survey of Children’s Health, National Longitudinal Mortality Study, and American Community Survey, were used to examine health differentials between immigrants and the US-born across the life course. Survival and logistic regression, prevalence, and age-adjusted death rates were used to examine differentials. Although these data systems vary considerably in their coverage of health and behavioral characteristics, ethnic-immigrant groups, and time periods, they all serve as important research databases for understanding the health of US immigrants. The NVSS and NHIS, the two most important data systems, include a wide range of health variables and many racial/ethnic and immigrant groups. Immigrants live 3.4 years longer than the US-born, with a life expectancy ranging from 83.0 years for Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants to 69.2 years for US-born blacks. Overall, immigrants have better infant, child, and adult health and lower disability and mortality rates than the US-born, with immigrant health patterns varying across racial/ethnic groups. Immigrant children and adults, however, fare substantially worse than the US-born in health insurance coverage and access to preventive health services. Suggestions and new directions are offered for improvements in health monitoring and for strengthening and developing databases for immigrant health assessment in the USA.