Journal of Immigrant Health

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 19–30 | Cite as

Immigration Reform and the Health of Latino Immigrants in California

  • Lawrence A. Palinkas
  • Jose I. Arciniega


This paper examines Latino immigrant health within the context of the current debate over immigration reform and the resulting cultural construction of public health in California. A review of epidemiologic and ethnographic data indicates that the subordinate socioeconomic status of Latino immigrants plays a major role in both disease etiology and access to health services. However, this status does not explain why certain patterns of health services utilization and disease morbidity and mortality persist although political and economic circumstances have changed. These patterns include the reluctance to utilize certain health services despite access to health insurance and the presence of an epidemiologic paradox in which Latinos have health status indicators comparable to or better than that of other ethnic groups despite high poverty, low education, and lack of access to care. An “economy of culture” model is used to explain these inconsistences in the political economy model of Latino immigrant health.

Migration Latinos health services utilization health status public health 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence A. Palinkas
    • 1
  • Jose I. Arciniega
    • 1
  1. 1.Immigrant/Refugee Health Studies Program, Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla

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