Social Determinants of Health Among the Rural Hispanic Population


As the largest American rural minority, Hispanic residents contribute to the country's economic development and cultural diversity. Social determinants of health and health outcomes among this population are mixed when compared to those of their White peers. Hispanic rural populations lagged behind their White counterparts in multiple socioeconomic indicators in 2016, including education, income, and access to broadband. On the other hand, the rural Hispanic population contains proportionately more children and adults under the age of 44 than is the case with the White rural population, potentially contributing to lower rates of disability at the population level. While mortality rates continue to demonstrate the "Hispanic paradox" of lower age-adjusted death rates than comparable White populations, it remains to be seen whether this paradox will continue as the current Hispanic population ages.

State and local public health organizations are encouraged to monitor the status of rural Hispanic populations particularly in areas with large proportions of foreign-born residents and in areas where the Hispanic presence is a recent phenomenon. High rates of HIV in counties with proportionately large Hispanic populations are of particular concern and suggest a need for proactive prevention programs.

Rural and Minority Health Research Center
Janice Probst, Fozia Ajmal