Heterogeneity is perhaps the most salient characteristic that defines Hispanic populations of the United States. Hispanic populations include native-born, migrant, and immigrant peoples with distinctive national origins and regional settlement patterns. This multigenerational migratory and social adjustment process has produced important cultural variations within and among the respective Hispanic ethnic groups. Moreover, the demographic structure of Hispanic populations is also varied and complex. These historical, demographic, and sociocultural features shape the health and disease experience of Hispanics. As expected, respective Hispanic ethnic groups vary in health status and have differing needs for health services. This article provides demographic background, a historical perspective, a synthesis of Hispanic issues identified in major and authoritative government documents, summary on the state-of-the-science for nursing research with Hispanics, and recommendations for future nursing research directions.
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