Thursday, July 18, 2013
Report: Is the United States Bad for Children’s Health? Risk and Resilience among Young Children of Immigrants
Nearly one-fourth of the children in the United States under the age of 18 have at least one immigrant parent, a reality that has implications for their well-being in light of a body of research that consistently finds differences in health and health risks between the children of immigrants and those of the native born. It is difficult, however, to accurately characterize the health of children of immigrants across their extremely diverse backgrounds and circumstances. While children in some national-origin groups appear to be adjusting well to the United States and may even enjoy better health outcomes than children of the US born in what is known as the epidemiological paradox, other origin groups face poorer socioeconomic circumstances, have more limited access to public benefits and services, and therefore face greater challenges in the course of their health and development. New data on the health of young children of immigrants have become available over the past decade, including the Early Childhood Longitudinal Surveys and the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study.
The research emerging from these data-collection efforts paints a considerably more nuanced picture, some of it suggesting that the health advantages observed among children of immigrants during infancy erode in early childhood. A new Migration Policy Institute report, Is the United States Bad for Children’s Health? Risk and Resilience among Young Children of Immigrants (Download ChildHealth (1)), summarizes the research, focusing in particular on the largest and most vulnerable group of children in the United States today: the children of Mexican immigrants (who in 2011 accounted for 39 percent of the 18.7 million children of immigrants).