Demographic Characteristics and Health Behaviors among a Diverse Group of Adult Hispanic/Latino Males in the United States

Reducing health disparities in the nation is a goal for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Affordable Care Act is making important strides toward meeting that goal. About 16.4 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage since the provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect, including 4.2 million Hispanics/Latinos. And while the uninsured rate fell across all race and ethnicity categories, there was a greater decline among Hispanics/Latinos and Black/African Americans than whites. The uninsured rate among Hispanics/Latinos has dropped by 12.3 percentage points since the start of the first open enrollment period in October 2013. Additionally, 8.8 million Hispanics/Latinos with private health insurance now have access to preventive services, including tobacco cessation with no cost-sharing. With the expansion of Medicaid and the addition of $11 billion to fund 1,300 community health centers throughout the country, the Affordable Care Act has substantially impacted communities of color.

This data brief focuses on a key provision of this landmark legislation that strengthens data collection standards that will help improve public health strategies and practices to address health disparities. New data collection standards issued in 2011 by HHS under Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act, allow for additional levels of detail for race and Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status collected in population health surveys conducted by the Department. This added granularity supports the monitoring of racial and ethnic health disparities in communities and enhances the ability of public health officials to identify and track the health and health care status of many population groups.

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) has produced this data brief to highlight the importance of the HHS data standards by examining the health status of a diverse group of adult Hispanic/Latino males. Despite Hispanics/Latinos representing the largest minority group in the nation, their health needs remain poorly understood. Hispanics/Latinos are a heterogeneous population with historical, cultural, linguistic, generational, and socioeconomic differences. Health issues experienced by Hispanics/Latinos are often masked when data are aggregated into a single ethnic category. Deepening our understanding of diversity within minority populations provides even greater insights into strategies for addressing health care and health disparities. This data brief underscores the significance of the Affordable Care Act in helping to close the gap in health disparities.

Data included in this brief were collected prior to the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplace and the brief describes issues that contribute to poor health outcomes among groups of non-elderly Hispanic/Latino males. This information will assist in developing tailored, culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions to reduce health disparities.

Population of focus: Adult Hispanic/Latino males aged 18 to 64 years

Link to resource:

Date: 2015

Organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health