The Effect of Ethnic Density on Health: A Comparison of Vietnamese and Mexicans Living in Orange County

Berna M. Torr, California State University, Fullerton
Eileen Walsh, California State University, Fullerton

The role of ethnic enclaves in health remains controversial--past studies have found that high levels of ethnic density promote health, while others have found that the opposite. We explore how living within or outside of two large ethnic enclaves in Orange County among two groups with very different immigration and settlement histories (Vietnamese and Mexican) is related to self-reported health. We examine differences in health between those living inside and outside of the enclave and how the effect of ethnic density differs between the two groups. We find that net of socioeconomic and demographic control variables, living within the enclave negatively affects health for both groups. However, the effect of ethnicity, which in part reflects the different experiences of immigration, is larger than the effect of enclave living. Vietnamese experience substantially poorer health than Mexicans living in Orange county both inside and outside of the enclaves.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment