Health Data Issues for Hispanics: Implications for Public Health Research


The limited availability of Hispanic health data has hampered the development of targeted public health policies. Hispanics represent 11.5 percent of the population and are projected to become the largest minority group in the United States by the year 2010. This paper explores current issues in Hispanic health data collection, examines methodological concerns, and presents recommendations for future Hispanic public health data collection. Data are derived from statistical reports of the U.S. Bureau of the Census, National Center for Health Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other empirical studies. Recommendations include: collecting both race and ethnic-specific data by Hispanic subgroup, designing appropriate data collection instruments and approaches, and selecting referent groups for comparison purposes. The authors conclude that the renewed national focus on health disparities among underserved populations requires an increased commitment to adequately identify Hispanic subgroups.