Immigration, Work, Social Context, and Health Insurance

Li Zhu, Arizona State University

Many prior studies found that immigrants are less likely to get health insurance compared to natives. Less research investigates interstate difference. Using CPS March 2006, I find that compared to NY, Florida, and Texas, immigrants in California are significantly less likely than natives to get both private and public health insurance, controlling for basic demographic characteristics. Given the fact that California has the most generous policy towards immigrants, this result presents a paradox. States of NY, Texas, Florida, and California are four traditional destinations for immigrants in the US. However, the local labor market opportunities and social environment of these states are different. A further investigation emphasizes on the effects of detailed industry types for immigrants. Bipolar economic and occupational structure, concentration on low-income jobs for immigrants, and adverse social environment are expected together to account for this big difference between immigrants and natives in California.

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Presented in Poster Session 3