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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

GONZALEZ-RABAGO, Yolanda; LA PARRA, Daniel; MARTIN, Unai  and  MALMUSI, Davide. Participation and representation of the immigrant population in the Spanish National Health Survey 2011-2012. Gac Sanit [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.4, pp.281-286. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2014.02.011.

Objective: Population health surveys have been the main data source for analysis of immigrants' health status in Spain. The aim of this study was to analyze the representation of this population in the Spanish National Health Survey (SNHS) 2011-2012. Methods: We analyzed methodological publications and data from the SNHS 2011-2012 and the population registry. Differences in the participation rate between the national and foreign populations and the causes for these differences were analyzed, as well as the representation of 11 countries of birth in the survey with respect to the general population, with and without weighting. Results: Households with any foreign person had a lower participation rate, either due to a higher error in the sampling frame or to a higher non-response rate. In each country of birth, the sample was smaller than would be expected according to the population registry, especially among the Chinese population. When we applied the sample weights to the 11 countries of birth, the estimated population volume was closer to the estimated volume of the population registry for all the countries considered, although globally both the underrepresentation and the intranational bias remained. Conclusions: The lower participation of the immigrant population and differences in participation depending on the country of origin suggest the existence of a potential bias in the SNHS, which should be taken into account in studies analyzing the health of this population. The lower participation rate should be studied in greater depth in order to take appropriate measures to increase the representativeness of health surveys.

Keywords : Health surveys; Emigrants and immigrants; Selection bias; Spain.

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