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A profile of immigrant health in Calgary

TitleA profile of immigrant health in Calgary
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLightman, N., and Stroick S.
InstitutionCalgary Local Immigration Partnership (CLIP)
CityCalgary, AB
Abstract

Executive Summary It is well documented that immigrant and racialized groups often experience greater access barriers to health and social services in Canada, due to multiple factors including language, transportation, information, service fees, and discrimination. Given the growing numbers of immigrants who make Calgary their home, there is a need to explore the association between characteristics such as immigration status, mother tongue, and ethnocultural identities, and potential disparities in health care access, physical health status, and mental health status for Calgary's diverse immigrant populations. This report provides a profile of immigrant health in Calgary, using pooled data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) gathered in the Calgary Zone Community Health Region between January 2013 and December 2016. The CCHS is an annual cross-sectional survey, which collects information on health status, the use of health care services, and some key social determinants of health for the Canadian population. It includes questions about income, employment status, level of education, sense of belonging to the local community, and access to health care. The sample used for this report consistsof 5,529 survey respondents who were residents of the Calgary Zone during the collection period. Key findings include significant differences between immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts in rates of unmet health care needs, physical health status, mental health status, sense of belonging to the local community, and the number and presence of chronic conditions experienced. The results often differ by immigrants' length of time in Canada, which is also associated with age. Specifically, our research finds the following for the Calgary Zone Community Health Region : * Unmet Health Care Needs – When all immigrants are combined, their rate of perceived unmet health care needs is significantly lower than for non-immigrants. * Physical Health Status – Rates of self-reporting health as "good" are significantly higher for recent immigrants (in Canada for 10 years or less) than for non-immigrants. However, rates of self-reporting health as "very good" or "excellent" are significantly lower for long-term immigrants (in Canada 25 years or more) than for non-immigrants. When controlling for other factors, racialized immigrants have lower odds of reporting "good" or "excellent" health than non-racialized Canadian-born respondents. This is also true for people with more chronic conditions, lower income, and less than high school education. * Mental Health Status – When compared to the Canadian-born population, rates of self-reported mental health for immigrants are not significantly different. However, when controlling for other relevant factors, people whose mother tongue is not English have lower odds of reporting "good" or "excellent" mental health than people whose mother tongue is English. This, in part, may reflect language barriers in accessing care. * Sense of Belonging – When all immigrants are combined, they have a significantly higher rate of experiencing a "somewhat" or "very strong" sense of belonging to the local community than Canadian-born survey respondents. * Number and Presence of Chronic Conditions – When all immigrants are combined, their rates of having three or more chronic conditions are significantly lower than for non-immigrants. Statistically significant differences between immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts emerged for arthritis, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and urinary incontinence, as well as for anxiety disorders and mood disorders. Conversely, there are no statistically significant differences between immigrants and non-immigrants in rates of bowel disorders, cancer, heart disease, stomach or intestinal ulcers, and Alzheimer's or dementia. Significant differences between immigrants and the Canadian-born population in the Calgary Zone are also found in rates of racialized identity, having a mother tongue other than English, living arrangements, sexual orientation, employment, and educational attainment-often differing by immigrants' length of time in Canada. In addition, there are statistically significant differences between immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts in terms of health care access and general health status, some of which may have implications for service provision and, ultimately, health outcomes. In sum, this research demonstrates statistically significant differences in several of the social determinants of health, in health care access and general health status, and in the health outcomes experienced by immigrants as compared to Canadian-born individuals living in the Calgary Zone Community Health Region. These findings will help CLIP Council and its working groups to understand the impact of various factors on the mental and physical health of immigrants. This is important information to have as CLIP moves forward with its Action Plan and works toward the full inclusion and integration of newcomers in Calgary.

URLhttps://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2019-02-26/study-provides-benchmark-understudied-area-immigrant-health-calgary
Document URLhttps://ucalgary.ca/newcomerresearch/files/newcomerresearch/a-profile-of-immigrant-health-in-calgary_revised-final_2019-01-23_sms.pdf