Background Immigrant population have exponentialy grown in the past thirty years in Chile, concentrating in the northern and central areas of the country. Iquique is one of the densest cities in the country in terms of international migrants, reaching around 10% of total population. In this city, healthcare network is divided into 4 primary care centres and one hospital. No study; however, has analysed where socioeconomically deprived immigrants are located in the city and how they access healthcare services compared to the local population. This study aimed at analysing the spatial location of international migrants in socioeconomic deprivation in the city of Iquique and how they access public healthcare, as well as compare it to the locals.
Methods Secondary data analysis of 2012 census data in Chile. We built a multiple index of deprivation for immigrants and locals separately, with the following dimensions at the census track level (n=1,879): (i) educational level (none/primary/secondary/higher), (ii) any disability (yes/no), (iii) housing (overcrowded, collective, rented), (v) crime (theft/burglary) (iv) environment (traffic accidents). Dimensions of the index were normalized and equally weighted. We compared the multiple index of deprivation between immigrants and the local population. We also measured access to primary healthcare services, as the nearest distance from the centroid of census tract to the corresponding health service through a GIS platform.
Results Socioeconomically deprived immigrants concentrate in the same areas that as the local population, that is in the north and centre boroughs of the city. These deprived areas do not only concentrate higher deprived population, but also concentrate higher crime rates and fewer healthcare services than other areas of the city. Nevertheless, the spatial access to primary healthcare services is similar across the four primary healthcare services, averaging 1 kilometer of distance.
Conclusion The spatial characterization of socioeconomically deprived population and their distance to healthcare services is useful for policy design and evaluation. We found that both immigrant and local population in socioeconomic deprivation tend to concentrate in similar poorer sectors of the city. The multidimensional index of deprivation was measured for the first time in Chile and became highly informative. More studies are required to understand how socioeconomic deprivation might impact on accessing healthcare among immigrant population in Chile and other countries.
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