Research Article|Articles in Press

Undocumented Latino Immigrants and the Latino Health Paradox


      Despite having worse healthcare access and other social disadvantages, immigrants have, on average, better health outcomes than U.S.-born individuals. For Latino immigrants, this is known as the Latino health paradox. It is unknown whether this phenomenon applies to undocumented immigrants.


      This study used restricted California Health Interview Survey data from 2015 to 2020. Data were analyzed to test the relationships between citizenship/documentation status and physical and mental health among Latinos and U.S.-born Whites. Analyses were stratified by sex (male/female) and length of U.S. residence (<15 years/>= 15 years).


      Undocumented Latino immigrants had lower predicted probabilities of reporting any health condition, asthma, and serious psychological distress and had a higher probability of overweight/obesity than U.S.-born Whites. Despite having a higher probability of overweight/obesity, undocumented Latino immigrants did not have probabilities of reporting diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease different from those of U.S.-born Whites after adjusting for having a usual source of care. Undocumented Latina women had a lower predicted probability of reporting any health condition and a higher predicted probability of overweight/obesity than U.S.-born White women. Undocumented Latino men had a lower predicted probability of reporting serious psychological distress than U.S.-born White men. There were no differences in outcomes when comparing shorter- with longer-duration undocumented Latino immigrants.


      This study observed that the Latino health paradox may express patterns for undocumented Latino immigrants that are different from those for other Latino immigrant groups, emphasizing the importance of accounting for documentation status when conducting research on this population.
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