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Minorities’ Health Challenges in the U.S. Essay

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Updated: Jun 15th, 2022

Introduction

For many years, the U.S. has been the country of immigrants and their descendants living next to the local population and each other. However, the cultural clusters of ethnic groups still exist due to social inheritance and circumstances. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2019) data, most modern citizens are Caucasian (over 70%). The growing Hispanic population is currently around 18%, followed by blacks (13%), Asians (6%), American Indians and Alaska Natives (less than 2%), and other categories. Since the group division criteria are not always clear, the numbers do not add to 100%, but the overall trend is visible.

Besides the ethnic background, U.S. residents can be divided into minorities and majority based on other factors. For example, LGBTQ group members are the minority, while the straight population is the majority. There are also more people living in the cities, as opposed to rural areas. Other criteria can be used as well, however, the ethnic background historically has a significant influence on the group’s needs and challenges.

Rural Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics

Sociologists analyze the data about minorities living in rural areas to understand the difficulties they face in several spheres, including medical care. The study of non-Hispanic black communities outside of the city showed that they experience more mental distress than non-Hispanic Caucasians from the same communities. They have also reported activity limitations due to problems with their health or emotional state. Besides, about a quarter of the respondents could not see a doctor in the last year due to the high costs (James et al., 2017). Similar to all Americans, people who live in the suburbs need access to medical care. However, due to less income and further distance to the hospitals, they experience more stress and cannot visit the specialists as often as necessary to maximize the health benefits.

Hispanics are the largest minority population in the U.S. at the moment. They have successfully integrated into the American way of living, however, one of the main challenges for Latino communities is the language barrier (Steinberg et al., 2016). Being family-oriented, Hispanic communities often have at least two children per family, and finding a bilingual doctor can be a challenge for them. Since this minority group is relatively large, U.S. hospitals started to incorporate language services and staff that can speak Spanish ( Steinberg et al., 2016). In addition, Hispanic communities are often located in rural areas, which adds to the problems of transportation and high medical costs.

Comparison to Caucasian Americans

Since the Caucasian population of the U.S. stays the majority, most medical services are readily available for them both physically and economically. White citizens, in general, can access medical facilities and afford to pay for the services. In addition, a statistically higher percentage of the Caucasian population graduate from college (King et al., 2016). Higher education allows citizens to earn more money and understand the logistics behind economics and healthcare better.

The ethnic and rural minorities, on the other hand, have to face financial difficulties, transportation problems, and cultural misunderstandings continually. Sometimes even living in the U.S. for several generations does not guarantee a well-paid stable job and reliable means of transportation. All these factors make obtaining the necessary medical care challenging for them. Some decide against preventive screenings and treating chronic diseases, which leads to further health problems and financial disparity between the income and the cost of services.

References

James, C. V., Moonesinghe, R., Wilson-Frederick, S. M., Hall, J. E., Penman-Aguilar, A., & Bouye, K. (2017). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, 66(23), 1–9. Web.

King, J.B. Jr., McIntosh, A., & Bell-Ellwanger, J. (2016). [PDF document]. Web.

Quick facts. (2019). United States Census Bureau. Web.

Steinberg E.M., Valenzuela-Araujo D., Zickafoose J.S., Kieffer E., & DeCamp L.R. (2016) Clin Pediatr. 55(14), 1318-1327. Web.

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