Latino Needs Assessment and Camino Research Institute
Over the last 20 years, the Latino population has exploded in North Carolina. Over 1 million Latinos now call the Tar Heel State home, according to the 2020 Census. With this rapid growth, it’s important to ensure this population continues to have a voice. Community Health Assessments are one of the ways we can learn about communities. These assessments help researchers identify health needs, contributing factors to health outcomes, and available or lacking resources within the community.
This week, Lennin Caro and Sarai Ordonez of the Camino Research Institute are guest authors on the Camino blog. Below they discuss the ongoing Latino Strengths and Needs Assessment and some preliminary data they collected.
Back in September, we at the Camino Research Institute launched our Latino Community Strengths and Needs Assessment to hear directly from the Latino community about their life experiences in NC. The Assessment consists of an electronic survey created in collaboration with other Latino community leaders, organizations, and members. It contains questions about access to health care, financial resources, employment, counseling, education, and childcare.
One of the questions posed to participants in the assessment is what they feel are the most significant strengths of the Latino community. The top answer was bilingualism – speaking both English and Spanish. Interestingly, language also came up as a reason Latinos can face discrimination in NC. Respondents indicated the top reason they have faced discrimination was either speaking with an accent or not using correct English. Half of all survey participants stated they have experienced discrimination where they live. This demonstrated the ambiguous nature of language in the community. The Latino community sees it as a strength, but it’s also a cause of discrimination for the broader community. *
*These results are based on a preliminary analysis of 226 responses from 2021.
On the other hand, one of the most interesting results we’ve discovered so far is the difference in health insurance coverage for Latinos. In NC, about 90% of all NC residents have health insurance. However, only 45% of NC Latinos have health insurance according to the results of our Latino Strengths and Needs Assessment. This number is even lower for the undocumented Latino community, with only 5% having health insurance. When asked what the most significant barrier to receiving regular medical attention is, the most common reason was not having health insurance. This shows the impact a lack of health insurance has on access to quality medical care. It also impacts differences in disease rates, disease prevention, and various health outcomes.
This preliminary data is just a sample of the information we have received from the assessment. A full report on the results will be released this summer. We’ll pass the data we receive from this survey to other organizations and government entities around the state so that we all have a better picture of the strengths and needs of the Latino community. If you are 18 years or older, of Latino descent, and in NC, or know someone who meets these qualifications, we invite you to take this survey or pass it on to someone you know. You can access the assessment here. As of the writing of this piece, over 400 Latinos have completed this survey.