Viability of a Church-Based Sampling Strategy for Latina Immigrant Women

Melanie R. Wasserman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Deborah E. Bender, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
William D. Kalsbeek, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The U.S. is experiencing its highest immigration rate since the 1930s. The vitality of our nation is greatly dependent on the productivity, health, and civic participation of the foreign-born and their children. How can we include new immigrants in public health research and interventions? No adequate sampling frame exists, and participation may be threatening to the undocumented. In recent years, the Federal Government has been encouraging faith-based initiatives. This study tests in four North Carolina counties a church-based sampling frame for Latina immigrant women in their reproductive years. In the study area, on an average week, 20% of the Spanish-speaking population attends church (2/3 Catholic). Compared against Census data, our sample (N=706) met our goal by over-representing new entrants to the U.S. and providing an accurate representation of different national origins. However, it under-represented the young (under 30), and women at the lowest and highest extremes of educational attainment.

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Presented in Session 96: Applied Demography with a Neighborhood Perspective