The rural-urban divide: Health services utilization among older Mexicans in Mexico

Jennifer J. Salinas, Soham Al Snih, Kyriakos Markides, Laura A. Ray, Ronald J. Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Context: Mexico. Purpose: Using the health care service utilization model as a framework, this paper will analyze the differences in health care service use among older Mexicans living in urban and rural areas in Mexico.Methods: The Mexican Health and Aging Survey (MHAS) data were used to test the applicability of Andersen's " model of health services" of predisposing (ie, age, sex, etc.), enabling (education, insurance coverage, etc.) and need factors (diabetes, hypertension, etc.) to predict ever being in the hospital and physician visits in the past year by place of residence (urban, rural, semi-rural).Findings: Results showed that older Mexicans living in the most rural areas (populations of 2,500 or fewer) were significantly less likely to have been hospitalized in the previous year and visited the physician less often (P < .0001) than their urban counterparts. The significant difference in hospitalization between rural and urban residing older Mexicans was largely accounted for by having health care coverage. Certain need factors such as diabetes, previous heart attack, hypertension, depression, and functional limitations predicted frequency of physician visits and hospitalization, but they did not explain variations between rural and urban older Mexicans.Conclusions: Not having insurance coverage was associated with a lower likelihood of spending an overnight visit in the hospital and visiting a physician for older Mexicans. This lower utilization may be due to barriers to access rather than better health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Hospitalization
  • Insurance
  • Mexico
  • Rural
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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