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Public Health. 2019 Feb 7;168:107-116. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2018.12.017. [Epub ahead of print]

Homelessness among immigrants in the United States: rates, correlates, and differences compared with native-born adults.

Author information

1
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New England Mental Illness Research, Education, Clinical Center (MIRECC), 950 Campbell Ave., 151D, West Haven, CT, 06516, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 George St., New Haven, CT, 06511, USA. Electronic address: Jack.Tsai@yale.edu.
2
Department of Biostatistics, Yale School of Public Health, 60 College St., New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study examines rates of lifetime adult homelessness among foreign-born adults in the United States and how they differ from native-born adults.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional data from a nationally representative US sample were analyzed.

METHODS:

A sample of 29,896 native-born (weighted 84.1%) and 6404 foreign-born (weighted 16.0%) US adults participating in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III were compared on rates of homelessness, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, mental and substance-use disorders, health insurance, and use of welfare.

RESULTS:

There was no significant difference in rates of lifetime adult homelessness between foreign-born adults and native-born adults (1.0% vs 1.7%). Foreign-born participants were less likely to have various mental and substance-use disorders, less likely to receive welfare, and less likely to have any lifetime incarceration. The number of years foreign-born adults lived in the United States was significantly associated with risk for homelessness.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest the 'healthy immigrant effect' applies to the mental health and social functioning of US immigrants but may not necessarily apply to homelessness. Long-standing immigration procedures requiring mental health and psychosocial evaluations may contribute to selection effects.

KEYWORDS:

Homelessness; Immigrants; Incarceration; Mental illness; Welfare

PMID:
30739834
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2018.12.017

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