The Aging Apple: Older Immigrants a Rising Share of New York's Seniors,
Center for an Urban Future, May, 2017, 10 pp.
Author: Christian González-Rivera
brief updates an earlier (2013) report on New York's immigrant senior population. Immigrant seniors now represent an even
larger share of the total senior population in the city, reaching almost 50 percent of the total (up from 46 percent in 2010).
The data brief reports trends in the senior population by nativity for the five boroughs, for particular neighborhoods,
and for selected countries of origin. As a group, immigrant seniors are 1.5 times as likely as native-born seniors to be poor,
and almost two out of three speak English less than very well, creating challenges for organizations trying to serve them
effectively. The median income of immigrant seniors citywide is $10,800, roughly half that of native-born seniors, which is
$20,800. One reason for the gap is the fact that 33 percent of older immigrants do not qualify to receive Social Security
benefits, compared to 17 percent of native-born seniors.
The New Face of New York's Seniors,
Center for an Urban Future, July, 2013, 36 pp.
Author: Christian Gonzalez-Rivera
The New Face of New York's Seniors by the Center
for an Urban Future shows that, in the nation's most populous and diverse city, immigrant seniors are a surprisingly large
share of the aging population. Census data shows that one in 10 older immigrants in the country calls New York City home.
Immigrants comprise nearly half a million, or 46 percent, of the city's senior population. Indeed, the median age of the city's
immigrant population (43) is 14 years higher than that of the native-born population (29). Informed by interviews with over
50 people active in the field of senior services, the report argues that the city is not devoting sufficient attention to
the health and well-being of its immigrant population. Immigrant seniors have lower incomes, less in retirement savings, and
receive fewer benefits from Social Security and Medicare. Their limited English proficiency prevents them from accessing adequate
healthcare, housing and even meals appropriate to their religious beliefs or medical conditions. The authors recommend that
the city prioritize outreach and service to immigrant seniors in its already commendable senior services programs. Such an
initiative would include strategies for increasing the level of, and access to, government benefits; improving access to translators;
taking advantage of technology to help older adults access services; updating city housing regulations to allow extended families
to live together; funding library-based English language courses especially designed for the senior population; and funding
capacity-building for, and service delivery by, promising immigrant community-based organizations. (Denzil Mohammed)
Senior Immigrants in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, May 30, 2012, 10 pp.
from 1960 to 1990, the number of older immigrants nearly doubled from 1990 to 2010. The immigrant share of the elderly
population in the U.S. is now 12 percent. This report provides a statistical portrait of the senior immigrant population,
mostly drawn from national data sets. More than half of older immigrants were limited English proficient. Forty-two percent
had less than a high school education, and 40 percent resided in low-income families, i.e. below 200 percent of the poverty
line. Immigrants were also three times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (12 percent vs. 4 percent
for the native-born).
Systems Change for Greater Cultural Competence in the Pennsylvania Disability Service and Support
Diversity Dynamics, LLC, for the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, 2011, 91 pp.
This report concludes a two-year study of the responsiveness of the Pennsylvania disability service system to the
needs and potential of immigrants and other culturally diverse individuals with disabilities. Through the use of surveys,
focus groups, structured interviews, and a literature review, this report focuses on systems-level issues, traces the evolution
of cultural competence as a concept, creates a framework of core principles to guide system reform, identifies model practices
both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country, and offers a series of recommendations for consideration by public and
private entities in the Commonwealth. The report devotes special attention to the newer cultural and linguistic groups that
have settled in Pennsylvania over the last 25 years.
Do Cultural Competency Interventions Work? A Systematic Review on Improving Rehabilitation
Outcomes for Ethnically and Linguistically Diverse Individuals with Disabilities,
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research, Technical
Brief No. 31, 2011, 12 pp.
This brief reports on a systematic review of disability-related
empirical research bearing upon the efficacy of "cultural competency interventions." The team of nine researchers
identified a total of 3,022 titles and abstracts of potentially relevant studies published between 1980 and the present. Only
22 studies, however, met the rigorous criteria for inclusion in the analysis, one of which was the use of control groups.
Based on the analysis of these 22 studies, the researchers conclude that "culturally adapted interventions do improve
rehabilitation outcomes for minority and immigrant individuals..."
Disability and Displacement,
Special Issue of Forced Migration Review, July, 2010, 44
This issue is intended to address the neglect of disability among the world's 42 million displaced people.
Twenty-six articles examine conditions for people with disabilities in countries of origin or first asylum, such as Sierra
Leone, Sri Lanka, and Yemen, as well as their experiences and opportunities in countries of resettlement, including the United
Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States. In part, the articles are designed to debunk the myth that there are few people
with disabilities among displaced populations and to challenge the notion that accommodations are too costly or difficult
to implement in crisis situations. The final article calls for the development of a "conclusion" (or consensus statement)
on disability to provide operational guidance to staff of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees
The Use of Culturally Adapted Competency Interventions
to Improve Rehabilitation Service Outcomes for Culturally Diverse Individuals with Disabilities,
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research, November 2, 2009, 80 pp.
This review of 3,022 research studies published between 1980 and 2009 seeks to understand whether "the cultural competency
training of rehabilitation providers translates into better outcomes for the clients or consumers of these services?"
There is ample evidence that such training improves the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of service providers, but few studies
have attempted to assess the actual impact of culturally competent interventions on individuals with disabilities. In fact,
only 22 studies met the rigorous criteria, including use of randomized control trials, set by the authors of this report.
These studies, however, pointed to statistically significant outcomes in four of five outcome measures. The authors conclude
with a recommendation for additional evidence-based studies to test the efficacy of "specific training approaches and
The Rehabilitation Provider's Guide to Cultures of the Foreign-Born,
Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE), University
of Buffalo, 2001-2008
The thirteen monographs in this series contain specific information
about the cultural backgrounds of recent immigrants in the U.S., with special attention given to how disability and rehabilitation
are viewed in each culture. The monographs cover the top ten countries of origin of the foreign-born population: Mexico, China,
Philippines, India, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Korea, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Cuba. There are additional monographs on
the culture of Haiti and the Muslim perspective.
Resource Guide for Serving Refugees with Disabilities,
United Sates Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 2007, 139 pp.
is intended primarily for resettlement workers needing to understand the disability service system in order to make appropriate
referrals for recently arrived refugees. Content was developed based on input from focus groups and surveys. Sections include:
a description of the disability legal and service framework in the U.S., services for adults with disabilities, services for
children with disabilities, housing, assistive technology and other topics.
Latinos with Disabilities in the United States,
The World Institute on Disability, 2006, 51 pp.
the first national overview of the situation of Latinos with disabilities in the U.S., the report paints a bleak picture,
finding "a strong reluctance to seek services" among Latinos, coupled with "slowness" on the part of service
organizations to use culturally competent practices. Focusing primarily on vocational rehabilitation services, the authors
discuss the cultural factors that impede access to services. The report includes profiles of successful programs that are
bridging the disability service system and the Latino community. The report concludes with 13 "priorities for change,"
including "encourag(ing) diverse interpretations of independent living....adopt(ing) effective outreach methods...integrating
culturally appealing messages...and educat(ing) Latino community leaders about disability issues."
Culturally Competent Disability Support: Putting It into Practice, A Review of the
Australian Literature on Cultural Competence,
Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of New South Wales, 2004, 99 pp.
This international literature review focuses on individual practice and skills, as opposed to system and organizational
change. The author discusses the relationship between critical thinking, "scientific mindedness," ethnographic approaches
and cultural competence, and calls attention to the theme of "empowerment" which underpins much of the literature.
A section of the report discusses strategies for engaging families and ethnic communities in supporting individuals with disabilities.
Finally, the author cites examples of effective outreach efforts to ethnic communities, including messaging strategies and
Cultural Brokering: Providing Culturally Competent Rehabilitation Services to Foreign-born
Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange, University of Buffalo,
2001, 50 pp.
This monograph is offered as "a starting point to understanding
and providing culturally sensitive care to foreign-born consumers" in the rehabilitation service system. The authors
identify and describe the range of skills involved in functioning as an effective culture broker, present a three-stage
intervention model, and recommend an assessment tool designed to elicit cultural information. The authors assume that cultural
brokers will work as members of the rehabilitation service systems, rather than as outside advocates.
Disability and Access to Health and Support Services Among California's Immigrant Population,
UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, January, 2000, 49 pp.
report examines rates of disability and disability service utilization among California's immigrant population. Utilizing
data from three supplements of the National Health Interview Survey of 1994, the researchers find that adult immigrants "are
less likely than U.S. natives to report any activity limitation, difficulties in any activities of daily living (ADL's), difficulties
in any instrumental activities of daily living (IADL's), and any days in bed..." Taking note of the lower socioeconomic
status and educational levels of immigrants, the authors conclude that the so-called "epidemiological paradox" in
health status, i.e. lower mortality rates despite higher known risks for poor health, also applies to disabilities.
Lift Every Voice: Modernizing Disability Policies and Programs to Serve a Diverse Nation,
National Council on Disability (NCD), 1999, 137 pp
Noting that a "shameful
wall of exclusion" continues to exist for people with disabilities from diverse communities, the authors of this report
update an earlier 1993 NCD study on the plight of minority group members with disabilities. Informed by a public hearing in
English, Spanish, and Cantonese held in San Francisco, and other community forums in Atlanta and New Orleans, the report uses
the testimony of participants to highlight the multiple barriers faced by diverse people with disabilities. Among the problems
noted in the report is the tendency of some employers to practice "double discrimination" - not only showing reluctance
to hire persons with disabilities, but also being especially dismissive of disabled applicants with foreign accents. The report
also laments the small numbers of employees from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds employed in state and private disability
service organizations, and urges partnerships with organizations, such as religious organizations and community-based organizations,
that form part of the "internal social structure" of ethnic and minority communities. The report places great emphasis
on the importance of "culturally appropriate outreach" and urges federal agencies with responsibility for services
to people with disabilities to convene an interagency team to mount a "large-scale outreach and training program"
to inform community members of available supports and services.