Immigrant Population in Cook County

Immigrant Population

The immigrant population in the United States as at 2015 was 43.3 million. This represented 13.5% of the total US population from a total of 321.4 million. It was noted that between the period of 2014 and 2015, the foreign-born population changed by 899,000 or 2.1% which was less than 2.5% increase experienced between 2013 and 2014 (Zong & Batalova, 2017). A survey carried out in 2016 indicated that the immigrants and their US born children had risen to about 84.3 million people or 27% of the entire United States population (Zong & Batalova, 2017). The immigrants range from new arrivals to naturalized citizens to lawful permanent residents. In this sense, the immigrants refer to any individual who is not a US citizen at birth. This paper will entail an analysis of the immigrant population as per the 2000 and 2010 census report in Cook County, Illinois State. 

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Change in the Immigrant Population

The Census Bureau indicates that the foreign-born persons between 2012 and 2016 in Cook County was 21.1% of the entire County’s population. The population as per Census in 2010 was 5194675 (United States Census Bureau , 2018). The studies on Metro Chicago indicated that is continues to be center of North American Immigration as it accounted for about 18.6% percent of the regional population. It was indicated that the population of immigrants into the region in the 1990s was approximately 54000 immigrants annually. Between 2000 and 2007 the annual average for the immigrants had reduced to 21000 relative to the immigrant’s entry at the state level where it is estimated that about 560,000 unauthorized immigrants entered Illinois in 2006 but had declined to 490,000 in 2010. In the region of Metro Chicago, the arrivals of immigrant population were about 44.8% in 2000 but had declined to approximately 27.6% in 2009. This slowdown implies that there have less people to integrate. However, the naturalization rates of immigrants have rebounded from the lowest rate of 39% in 2000 to 45% in 2009.

The Census Bureau indicates that of the foreign-born population in Cook County, 6.25% are persons under 5 years, 22% include persons under 18 years, 14.3% persons 65 years and above while the females make up 51.4%.

The Census report up to the county level does not provide comprehensive breakdown on information about the immigrants with regard to employment, housing, languages spoken at home, and 

In Cook County, the immigrants range from naturalized citizens, noncitizens such as legal permanent residents, legal nonimmigrants, unauthorized immigrants. As at 2009, it was indicated that the foreign born were 1144000. Among these, 43% of 490,000 were naturalized while 57% or 654000 were noncitizens. Among the noncitizen’s immigrants, the legal permanent residents make up 48% or 313,000, the legal nonimmigrants make up 6% or 39000, the unauthorized immigrant make up 46% of the noncitizen’s immigrants or 301000. Of the unauthorized immigrants 12% are DACA immediately eligible. Health insurance status among the foreign born only 34% are had no health insurance coverage. Only 66% of the immigrants have insurance cover (McHugh & Morawski, 2016). 

Impact of Immigrants Population on Provision of Culturally Competent Health Care

Cultural competence is an approach important to enhancing healthcare delivery. It is an important element in the provision of patient-centered healthcare. This is understood as the provision of healthcare in a manner that considers the patient a unique human being who has a unique story. This is important to promote trust and confidence, clarify and categorize the patient’s symptoms and general. Personal understanding of the patient helps in understanding the biological and psychosocial dimension of illness which holds the foundation for an ongoing relationship (Saha, Beach, & Cooper, 2008).

Immigrants population make up a large segment of the ethnic minorities in the United States. There issue of influx of Latino immigrants that was experienced in different areas of the country introduced an array of challenges to the healthcare systems and the healthcare practitioners. The increased immigration rates into areas that are not ready to accommodate the healthcare needs of the new inhabitants faces the challenges. Some of these challenges range lack of knowledge on where to access the right care, language barrier, and cultural competence among providers.

Studies have indicated that recent Latino immigrants are less likely to have access to healthcare and healthcare resources relative to those who had been in country for a longer period. Evidence suggest that quality patient-provider communication is associated with higher adherence levels to treatment, patient satisfaction, and overall enhanced health outcomes. With the immigrants, challenges such as language barriers, financial issues, lack of health insurance, lack of means of transportation, and difficulties in scheduling appointments makes it hard for healthcare practitioners. This makes it important for the healthcare practitioners to understand the cultural beliefs, expectation, and barriers to care among Latino immigrants. This will help reduce the gap between the providers and the immigrants. Understanding common cultural beliefs and healthcare seeking behaviors among the Latinos and other immigrant population is essential in providing competent care (McGuire, Garce-Palacio, Scarinci, 2012). 

The immigrants introduced a section of the population with unique healthcare needs. This impacts on the healthcare as it calls for the providers to have cultural competence. Cultural competence enhances provider effectiveness in addressing the unique needs of this population. Effective primary care needs to incorporate the immigrants experience and its physical and emotional sequelae. It is important to establish sustained partnership with these clients in a manner that respects complex cultural, political, economic, and personal backgrounds that affect the immigrant’s women perceptions of health, illness, and healthcare needs. Having culturally competent primary care providers is effective in serving the immigrant population and assist enrich the community where they work (Downs, Bernstein, & Marchese, 1997).

Working with immigrants in healthcare calls for the development of a unique healthcare models that can handle their unique health care needs. An example of such a model is the Sowing the Seeds of Health (SSH) which is a guide for working with Latino that was developed and adopted in Alabama. The SSH is a community-based education program that aims at reducing the incidence the breast and cervical cancer among the Latina immigrants through community health advisors. The model was developed after key extensive research among the immigrants to understand the culture much better. The healthcare model included an educational intervention for healthcare providers on how to navigate the immigrant’s healthcare needs (McGuire et al. 2012). This indicates that a major impact when dealing with the immigrant is the need to train the healthcare providers on how to tackle the unique needs that the immigrant may have.


Downs, K., Bernstein, J., & Marchese, T. (1997). Providing culturally competent primary care for immigrant and refugee women: A Cambodian case study. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery42(6), 499-508.

McGuire, A. A., Garcés-Palacio, I. C., & Scarinci, I. C. (2012). A successful guide in understanding Latino immigrant patients: An aid for health care professionals. Family & Community Health35(1), 76–84. 

McHugh, M., & Morawski, M. (2015). Immigrants and WIOA services: Comparison of sociodemographic characteristics of native-and foreign-born adults in the United States.

Saha, S., Beach, M. C., & Cooper, L. A. (2008). Patient Centeredness, Cultural Competence and Healthcare Quality. Journal of the National Medical Association100(11), 1275–1285.

United States Census Bureau . (2018). Quick Facts: Cook County, Illinois . Retrieved from, J., & Batalova, J. (2015). Frequently requested statistics on immigrants and immigration in the United States. Migration Policy Institute26, 1-18.

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