Health and Health Care for Hispanic People
September marks National Hispanic American Heritage Month during which the U.S. recognizes the achievements and contributions of Hispanic people. As the country celebrates these achievements, it is key to recognize that Hispanic people face many disparities in health and health care that limit their overall health and well-being. Hispanic people make up 19% of the total U.S. population and are the second largest racial or ethnic group in the U.S. They are also the second fastest growing group, increasing from 50.5 million to 62.1 million between 2010 and 2020. Hispanic people living in the U.S. have a diverse heritage, with origins from over twenty countries and Puerto Rico. The majority of Hispanic people in the U.S. were born in the country, however 33% are immigrants, including 20% who are noncitizens. Overall, the Hispanic population is relatively young, including 26% who are children ages 18 or younger.
Despite gains in health coverage since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nonelderly Hispanic people continue to have some of the highest uninsured rates (20%) across racial/ethnic groups, although risk of being uninsured varies by their family heritage, with particularly high rates among those with roots in Central America. These higher uninsured rates, underlying social and economic inequities, and linguistic barriers contribute to increased challenges in accessing health care. Moreover, Hispanic people faced growing fears about accessing health coverage and other assistance due to shifting immigration policy under the Trump Administration and have experienced disproportionate health, social, and economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. They also face increasing health risks associated with climate change. As a large and growing share of the population, addressing health challenges faced by Hispanic people will be important for improving their health and well-being and supporting overall improved health and prosperity of the country.