Care For America’s Elderly And Disabled People Relies On Immigrant Labor

Client: CHA Foundation
Topic Areas: Advocacy and community engagement; Immigrant health; Social determinants of health
Service: Applied Research

ICH designed and led this research, which was supported by the Cambridge Health Alliance Foundation. As the US wrestles with immigration policy and caring for an aging population, data on immigrants’ role as health care and long-term care workers can inform both debates. Using nationally representative data, ICH tabulated the number of immigrants who are health care workers, formal and nonformal long-term care sector workers, direct care workers and nursing home housekeeping and maintenance workers. In light of the current and projected shortage of health care and direct care workers, our finding that immigrants fill a disproportionate share of such jobs suggests that policies curtailing immigration will likely compromise the availability of care for elderly and disabled Americans. This work was published in Health Affairs, was presented at a Health Affairs briefing in Washington, DC, and was the subject of reports in major mainstream media outlets.