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Health & place

Racial and ethnic residential segregation and access to health care in rural areas.


PMID 28012312

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between racial/ethnic residential segregation and access to health care in rural areas. Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were merged with the American Community Survey and the Area Health Resources Files. Segregation was operationalized using the isolation index separately for African Americans and Hispanics. Multi-level logistic regression with random intercepts estimated four outcomes. In rural areas, segregation contributed to worse access to a usual source of health care but higher reports of health care needs being met among African Americans (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 1.42, CI: 0.96-2.10) and Hispanics (AOR: 1.25, CI: 1.05-1.49). By broadening the spatial scale of segregation beyond urban areas, findings showed the complex interaction between social and spatial factors in rural areas.

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