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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Jul;30(7):1358-65. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0126.

The Care Span: Growth of racial and ethnic minorities in US nursing homes driven by demographics and possible disparities in options.

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Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


Between 1999 and 2008, the number of elderly Hispanics and Asians living in US nursing homes grew by 54.9 percent and 54.1 percent, respectively, while the number of elderly black residents increased 10.8 percent. During the same period, the number of white nursing home residents declined 10.2 percent. These shifts have been driven in part by changing demographics, especially the fast growth of older minority populations. However, the numbers of minority residents in nursing homes increased more rapidly than the minority population overall, even in areas with high concentrations of minority populations. Thus, these results may indicate unequal minority access to home and community-based alternatives, which are generally preferred for long-term care. When designing initiatives to balance institutional and noninstitutional long-term care, policy makers should take steps to reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

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