Language, sociodemographics, and health care use of Hispanic adults

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 1996 May;7(2):140-58. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2010.0024.


This study examines the role of spoken language in access to health care for Hispanic adults. Analyzing the associations between personal characteristics and the use of Spanish as opposed to English reveals that monolingual Spanish speakers were more likely than others to be older, less educated, in poor health, uninsured, and in poverty. Further, Spanish speakers were less likely than English-speaking Hispanics to have a usual source of health care. Persons with no usual source of care were least likely to have seen a physician or to have had their blood pressure checked, whereas those with a regular doctor appeared to have the greatest access. The authors conclude that, whereas language is certainly associated with many barriers to health care, both economic well-being and having a usual source of care are of paramount importance for the Hispanic American population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Communication Barriers*
  • Cuba / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Language
  • Male
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States