Poverty and Health of Children from Racial/Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Families in the Midwest
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Using data from the 2007-2009 Annual Social and Economic (ASEC) supplement of the Current Population Surveys (CPS), this study explores the relationship between poverty and health of children from various racial/ethnic minority and immigrant families in the Midwest. Findings show that: (1) Racial/ethnic minority children experience poorer health than non-Hispanic White children; (2) Increased poverty among children predicts poorer children's health; (3) Immigrant children have poorer health than natives; and (4) Second-generation immigrant children have poorer health than first and third-generation immigrant children. This study demonstrates the health disadvantages of Mid-western children from racial/ethnic minority families faced by poverty. The gap in children's health between non-Hispanic White and minority children persists even after accounting for the effects of immigrant status, poverty, family structure, parental education, health insurance coverage, and metropolitan/ nonmetropolitan residence. Improving the economic well-being of all racial/ethnic and immigrant families would improve children's health. Studies have shown the harmful influence of poverty on child health and development. Poverty has been linked to numerous negative outcomes for children, including physical health; educational achievement and development; emotional and behavioral problems and depression; and other consequences, such as teenage out-of-wedlock birth, child abuse and neglect, and violent crime (Aber, Bennett, Conley, & Li., 1997; Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997; Duncan & Brooks-Gunn, 1997, 2000; Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, & Klebanov, 1994; Lichter, 1997; Malat, Oh, & Hamilton, 2005; McLeod & Shanahan, 1996; Petterson & Albers, 2001). Race and ethnicity also continues to be a strong determinant of variations in health status (Williams & Collins, 1995). Health outcomes usually have multiple causes that can be either direct or indirect and are often interrelated and interactive (Kaplan & Bennett, 2003; Williams, 1997). Both racial/ethnicity and social class influence health through complex pathways (Geronimus, 2000; Kaplan & Bennett, 2003; Krieger, 2000; Williams, 1997, 2002; Williams & Collins, 2001). Much of previous health studies research conducted with immigrants consistently found that acculturation is detrimental to health (Cho, Frisbie, Hummer, & Rogers, 2004; Hummer, Powers, Pullum, Gossman, & Frisbie, 2007; Landale, Oropesa, & Gorman, 2000). The basic premise of those studies is that culturally-based behaviors change over time and deteriorate as a result of acculturation (Ebin et al., 2001; Hummer et al., 1999; Landale, Oropesa, Llanes, & Gorman, 1999; Rumbaut, 1997). The main objective of this study is to determine the main, relative, and combined influences of poverty, race/ethnicity, and immigrant/generation status on children's health in the Midwest. This study addresses three main research questions: (1) What is the influence of poverty on children's health? (2) What are the influences of race/ethnicity and immigrant/generation status on children's health? (3) To what extent does poverty account for racial/ethnic and immigrant/generation status gaps in children's health?