Experiences in Care According to Parental Citizenship and Language Use Among Latino Children in California

Published:January 05, 2017DOI:



      To assess differences in health care access, utilization, and experiences among Latino children in California according to parental citizenship status and language use.


      Data are from the 2011 and 2012 California Health Interview Survey public use child files. A total of 2841 interviews of parents of Latino children younger than the age of 12 years were conducted. Analyses were conducted to determine the associations between access (usual of source of care, delay in receiving needed care, health insurance), utilization (physician visits in past year, emergency department visits), and experiences (doctor listens, doctor explains instructions clearly, communication via telephone or e-mail) according to parental citizenship status and household language use after adjusting for confounders.


      In multivariate analyses, there were no significant differences in access to care according to parental citizenship status. Children with 2 noncitizen parents had fewer doctor visits and were less likely to go to the emergency department in the past year than those with 2 citizen parents. Among children with 1 or 2 noncitizen parents, their parents reported worse experiences in care than those with 2 citizen parents. Similar results were observed for language use. Parents of children in bilingual and Spanish-only households were less likely to report that their children's doctors explained things clearly, and parents in Spanish-only households were less likely to communicate via telephone or e-mail than those in English-only households.


      Health policy should focus on provider-parent communication to ensure health care equity for Latino children whose parents are not citizens or do not speak English.


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