Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Examine Barriers to Healthcare Access for Hispanic and Latino Immigrants in the U.S. South

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017 Apr;4(2):297-307. doi: 10.1007/s40615-016-0229-9. Epub 2016 Apr 29.


Geographic barriers to accessing timely and appropriate primary health care services have been identified as significant social determinants of health that contribute to the growing health inequities among Hispanic and Latino immigrants in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine the geographic factors that serve as barriers to healthcare access for Hispanic and Latino immigrants in the southern community of Louisville, Kentucky. Accessibility to healthcare services was examined using spatial analysis techniques, a Geographic Information System and geographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Louisville and Jefferson County Information Consortium. Results from this study indicated that physical location, socioeconomic factors, distance, and transportation served as barriers to accessing healthcare services. Findings provide significant implications for future research and policy-based interventions focused on eliminating geographic barriers and promoting social and health equity for the underserved.

Keywords: Geographic barriers; Healthcare access; Hispanic and Latino immigrants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Educational Status
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Geographic Information Systems*
  • Geography
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Kentucky
  • Language
  • Poverty
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spatial Analysis