International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 567–576 | Cite as

Pattern of health services use by immigrants from different regions of the world residing in Spain

  • Belén SanzEmail author
  • Enrique Regidor
  • Silvia Galindo
  • Cruz Pascual
  • Lourdes Lostao
  • José Manuel Díaz
  • Elisabeth Sánchez
Original Article



To determine immigrants’ frequency of use of four health services by place of origin and compare it with that of the Spanish population.


Based on the 2006 National Health Survey in Spain, we estimated the frequency of use of four health services in men and women from: Spain, Western countries, Eastern Europe, Latin America, North Africa, Sub Saharan Africa and Asia/Oceania. These results were compared with the Spanish population by calculating odds ratios adjusted for age, socioeconomic position, health status, and type of health coverage.


Immigrant men generally use health services less frequently than Spanish nationals. The main exceptions are Latin American men, who more often use emergency services (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.41–1.99) and Sub-Saharan men, who use specialists more frequently (OR 2.93, 1.70–5.05). Immigrant women use health services about as frequently as Spanish women. The main exceptions are North African women, who less frequently use specialists (OR 0.39, 0.22–0.71) and Sub-Saharan women who more frequently use GPs (OR 4.06, 2.21–7.44), specialists (OR 2.29, 1.06–4.95) and emergency services (OR 2.92, 1.49–5.72).


Health services use by the immigrant population in Spain differs by gender and place of origin.


Emigrants and immigrants Delivery of health care Health services accessibility Health survey 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belén Sanz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Enrique Regidor
    • 2
  • Silvia Galindo
    • 1
  • Cruz Pascual
    • 2
  • Lourdes Lostao
    • 3
  • José Manuel Díaz
    • 4
  • Elisabeth Sánchez
    • 5
  1. 1.National School of Public HealthInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public HealthUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of SociologySociology of Health, Public University of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Madrid-SaludAyuntamiento de MadridSpain
  5. 5.EpicentreParisFrance

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