No real progress towards equity: health of migrants and ethnic minorities on the eve of the year 2000

Soc Sci Med. 1995 Sep;41(6):819-28. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)00386-8.


The paper reviews the available evidence on access to health care and two health outcomes, perinatal mortality and accident/disability, for migrant and ethnic minorities in selected receiving industrialized countries. The health of these communities is analyzed using the entitlement approach, which considers health as the product of both the individual's private endowments and the social environment he or she faces. Migrants, especially first and second generations, and ethnic minorities often have reduced entitlements in receiving societies. Not only are they exposed to poor working and living conditions, which are per se determinants of poor health, but they also have reduced access to health care for a number of political, administrative and cultural reasons which are not necessarily present for the native population. The paper argues that the higher rates of perinatal mortality and accidents/disability observed in many migrant groups compared to the native population are linked to their lower entitlements in the receiving societies. Policies aimed at reducing such health gaps need to be accompanied by a more general effort to reduce inequalities and to promote full participation of these groups in the mainstream of society.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Morbidity*