Place of Physician Contact

In 2005, a doctor’s office or HMO was the usual place of sick care (not including routine or preventive care) for 77.5 percent of children in the United States, a proportion that varies by family income and race and ethnicity. Children with family incomes above the poverty level were more likely to visit a doctor’s office or HMO for sick care than children with family incomes below the poverty level.

Among children with family incomes below the poverty level, 73.2 percent of non-Hispanic White children received care at a doctor’s office or HMO, compared to 56.7 percent of non-Hispanic Black children and 43.1 percent of Hispanic children. Hispanic children were more likely than non-Hispanic children to receive nonroutine care at a clinic or health center when they were sick, with nearly 53 percent whose family incomes were below poverty and 27.2 percent above poverty receiving care at such a location. Comparatively, only 23.1 percent of low-income and 14.4 percent of higher-income non-Hispanic White children received care from clinics or health centers.

Only a small proportion of children used a hospital emergency room, hospital outpatient department, or some other source as their primary source of sick care, but children with family incomes below the poverty level were more likely to do so than children with higher family incomes. For instance, 6.0 percent of non-Hispanic Black children and 3.9 percent of Hispanic children with family incomes below the poverty level regularly received care from these sources, while those with family incomes above the poverty level were less likely to do so (3.2 and 2.4 percent, respectively.)

Back to Top