Region of birth differences in healthcare navigation and optimisation: the interplay of racial discrimination and socioeconomic position

Ivana Paccoud*, James Nazroo, Anja K. Leist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: While a large body of research has documented socioeconomic and migrant inequities in the effective use of healthcare services, the reasons underlying such inequities are yet to be fully understood. This study assesses the interplay between racial discrimination and socioeconomic position, as conceptualised by Bourdieu, and their contributions to healthcare navigation and optimisation. Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey in Luxembourg we collected data from individuals with wide-ranging migration and socioeconomic profiles. We fitted sequential multiple linear and logistic regressions to investigate the relationships between healthcare service navigation and optimisation with perceived racial discrimination and socioeconomic position measured by economic, cultural and social capital. We also investigated whether the ownership of these capitals moderates the experience of racial discrimination in healthcare settings. Results: We observed important disparities in healthcare navigation among different migrant communities. These differences were explained by accounting for the experience of racial discrimination. Racial discrimination was also negatively related with the extent of healthcare services optimisation. However, the impact of discrimination on both health service navigation and optimisation was reduced after accounting for social capital. Higher volumes of economic and social capital were associated with better healthcare experience, and with a lower probability of perceived racial discrimination. Conclusions: Racial discrimination plays a substantial role in accounting for inequality in healthcare service navigation by different migrant groups. This study highlights the need to consider the complex interplay between different forms of economic, cultural and social capital and racial discrimination when examining migrant, and racial/ethnic differences in healthcare. Healthcare inequalities arising from socioeconomic position and racism need to be addressed via multilevel policies and interventions that simultaneously tackle structural, interpersonal, and institutional dimensions of racism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bourdieu
  • Economic, social and cultural capital
  • Healthcare inequalities
  • Healthcare navigation and optimisation
  • Racial discrimination


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