Health services use by children of migratory agricultural workers: Exploring the role of need for care

Andrea Weathers, Cynthia Minkovitz, Patricia O'Campo, Marie Diener-West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective. For migrant children: 1) to assess the determinants of health services use among users and nonusers of health services; 2) to evaluate the association between health status and health services use, while controlling for potential confounders. Design. A cross-sectional household survey using multistage, partially random sampling to identify migrant families in eastern North Carolina. Participants. Adult caretakers of 1 randomly selected child under 13 years old. Results. Forty-four percent of children (N = 300) visited a doctor in the preceding 3 months. Those visiting a doctor disproportionately reported having less than very good health (29% vs 10%), insurance (46% vs 11%), interpreters (45% vs 27%), a family member receiving Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (50% vs 16%), and a legal caretaker (30% vs 18%). Compared with those without a doctor visit, a larger proportion of children visiting a doctor were 6 years or younger in age (71% vs 35%), born in the United States (51% vs 15%), female (64% vs 45%), and had not moved in 6 or more months (19% vs 10%). Controlling for enabling resource and sociodemographic confounders, children with less than very good health were 2.4 times more likely than those in very good health to have visited a doctor (95% confidence interval [1.1-5.2]). Conclusions. Migrant children using health services are distinct from nonusers with regards to sociodemographic factors, enabling resources, and need for care. Health services use is associated with less than very good perceived health, despite resource barriers and sociodemographic disadvantages. More efforts are needed to improve access to health care for migrant children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-963
Number of pages8
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - May 1 2003


  • Child
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Health services accessibility
  • Health services needs and demand
  • Health status
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Residential mobility
  • Transients and migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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