The Physical and Psychological Well–Being of Immigrant Children

Author: Krista M. Perreira, India J. Ornelas.
Organization: Princeton University and The Brookings Institute.

Poor childhood health contributes to lower socioeconomic status in adulthood. Subsequently, low socioeconomic status among parents contributes to poor childhood health outcomes in the next generation. This cycle can be particularly pernicious for vulnerable and low–income minority populations, including many children of immigrants. And because of the rapid growth in the numbers of immigrant children, this cycle also has implications for the nation as a whole. By promoting the physical well–being and emotional health of children of immigrants, health professionals and policy makers can ultimately improve the long–term economic prospects of the next generation. Access to health care substantially influences the physical and emotional health status of immigrant children. Less likely to have health insurance and regular access to medical care services, immigrant parents delay or forgo needed care for their children. To better promote the health of children of immigrants, health researchers and reformers must improve their understanding of the unique experiences of immigrant children; increase access to medical care and the capacity of providers to work with multilingual and multicultural populations; and continue to improve the availability and affordability of health insurance for all Americans.


Perreira, K.M., Ornelas, I.J. (2011) "The Physical and Psychological Well–Being of Immigrant Children." Immigrant Children 21 (1). The Future of Children. Retrieved from: