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Latinos: A Health Snapshot

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Latinos: A Health Snapshot

October 03, 2008

As the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States, Latinos have a major impact on the health care system. Nearly one in three Americans will be Latino by 2050, according to an August 2008 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Latino population is expected to nearly triple from 46.7 million in 2008 to 132.8 million in 2050. As a percentage of the overall U.S. population, Latinos will more than double from 15 to 30 percent. The term Latino is often used interchangeably with Hispanic to refer to persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, South or Central American, or Spanish ancestry. The states with the greatest concentration of Latinos are New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida, according to the census bureau. Latinos suffer from a disproportionately high incidence of asthma, obesity, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Hispanics under the age of 65 are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance than non-Hispanics, according to a November 2008 CDC report. As a result, some uninsured Latinos rely on emergency rooms and clinics as their primary source of medical care. For many newer immigrants, lack of familiarity with the health care system and proficiency in English are barriers to care. Updated February 2010

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