Immigrants Can Mitigate Home Health Aide Shortages in Rural America, New Report Shows

Immigrants Can Mitigate Home Health Aide Shortages in Rural America, New Report Shows

New York, NY — By 2030, America’s population of seniors will reach 71.5 million — a two-fold increase from 2000. As this demographic shift unfolds, healthcare services will be in increasingly high demand. A new report by the New American Economy projects that by 2022, the number of needed home health aides will increase by 48 percent (425,000 jobs), making it the third fastest-growing occupation in the country. As the industry booms, it consistently has trouble attracting American workers, given long hours, as well as the physical and mental challenges associated with the job. Furthermore, efforts to raise industry wages in recent years have faltered, creating another obstacle to attracting workers to the field.

A Helping Hand: How Immigrants Can Fill Home Health Aide Shortages in America’s Rural Communities utilizes U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze the shortage of home health aides in America’s rural communities and how immigrants — who currently occupy a quarter of home healthcare jobs — can help fill workforce gaps. The report, which is part of a series on immigrant contributions to America’s healthcare industry, finds that rural parts of the country are suffering from severe home health aide shortages, compounded by their populations requiring more medical attention than their urban counterparts.

“This report makes clear that as America ages, the need for additional home healthcare workers is on the rise — especially in rural communities across the country,” said John Feinblatt, Chairman of New American Economy. “A concerted effort must be made by Congress to support foreign-born healthcare workers who want to practice in the United States so that they can care for American communities.”

The study finds:

  • Rural communities are less likely to have access to home healthcare workers. At present, America’s rural communities have almost 20 percent fewer home health aides than metropolitan areas.
  • Residents of rural communities are more likely to be older and disabled. The average non-metro area resident is 40 years old — 2.5 years older than his/her metropolitan counterpart. Working-age Americans living outside of metropolitan areas are also 51 percent more likely to be disabled.
  • In some states, the number of home health aides outside metropolitan areas is already incredibly low. Nationwide, there are 258 aides for every 100,000 residents. In six states — WA, AL, MT, AZ, CT, and VT — there are fewer than 75 aides per 100,000 residents.
  • Immigrants will continue to ameliorate home health aide shortages in the United States. Twenty-four percent of home health aides are foreign-born. Nineteen percent of immigrant healthcare professionals work in the home, compared to just 10 percent of native-born workers.

Read A Helping Hand: How Immigrants Can Fill Home Health Aide Shortages in America’s Rural Communities

Additional Resources:

Blog: “How Immigrants Care For America’s Seniors”

Report: Life Support: The Shortage of Physicians in America’s Rural Counties and How Foreign-Born Doctors can Help

Video: Staying Covered: Immigrants Contributed Near $200-Billion Surplus to Medicare

Sarah Doolin

About NAE

New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…