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Urban Aboriginal mobility in Canada: Examining the association with health care utilization


  • Snyder, Marcie
  • Wilson, Kathi


In recent decades, Indigenous peoples across the globe have become increasingly urbanized. Growing urbanization has been associated with high rates of geographic mobility between rural areas and cities, as well as within cities. In Canada, over 54 percent of Aboriginal peoples are urban and change their place of residence at a higher rate than the non-Aboriginal population. High rates of mobility may affect the delivery and use of health services. The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between urban Aboriginal peoples' mobility and conventional (physician/nurse) as well as traditional (traditional healer) health service use in two distinct Canadian cities: Toronto and Winnipeg. Using data from Statistics Canada's 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, this analysis demonstrates that mobility is a significant predisposing correlate of health service use and that the impact of mobility on health care use varies by urban setting. In Toronto, urban newcomers were more likely to use a physician or nurse compared to long-term residents. This was in direct contrast to the effect of residency on physician and nurse use in Winnipeg. In Toronto, urban newcomers were less likely to use a traditional healer than long-term residents, indicating that traditional healing may represent an unmet health care need. The results demonstrate that distinct urban settings differentially influence patterns of health service utilization for mobile Aboriginal peoples. This has important implications for how health services are planned and delivered to urban Aboriginal movers on a local, and potentially global, scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Snyder, Marcie & Wilson, Kathi, 2012. "Urban Aboriginal mobility in Canada: Examining the association with health care utilization," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2420-2424.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:12:p:2420-2424
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. K. Bruce Newbold, 1997. "Aboriginal Physician Use in Canada: Location, Orientation and Identity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(2), pages 197-207.
    2. L. Randall Wray & Stephanie Bell, 2004. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Credit and State Theories of Money, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Benoit, Cecilia & Carroll, Dena & Chaudhry, Munaza, 2003. "In search of a Healing Place: Aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 821-833, February.
    4. Waldram, James B., 1990. "Physician utilization and urban native people in Saskatoon, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 579-589, January.
    5. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
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