Since France does not gather official census data on race or ethnicity, determining correlation between health indicators and racial/ethnic identity is quite difficult. In fact, many researchers in the field lament this lack of data, noting that official census information could be used to discern and address specific health issues in minority communities. France has a system of universal healthcare paid via income tax and, since 1945, the ability to receive care has bee independent of being employed at the time of need (Dutton 13-14, 20: 2007).
A 2009 study on access to and use of French medical care, however, found that immigrants were less likely to have visited a general practitioner in the last year, or to have been screened for diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The study concludes that this difference can be attributed to the lower average economic status of immigrants. Interestingly, though, North African immigrants showed higher rates of GP visits, and the immigrant community as a whole was more likely to have received various vaccinations, such as the Hepatitis C vaccination (Dourgnon 1-5: 2009).
Lastly, a 2009 study looked at health disparities within the older immigrants living in France. The study was inspired by similar ones conducted in America, which came to the conclusion that immigrants exhibited better health than native Americans, and that there existed a great diversity in health indicators depending on the immigrants’ country of origin (Wolff 1-2: 2009). The study found that immigrants from Northern Europe, America, and Asia exhibited normal levels of health, and that those from Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and North Africa exhibited lower levels than the average population. While the study does not speculate as to the cause of this disparity (economic indicators of the home country, economic indicators of immigrants themselves, or the affects of discrimination), he does conclude that studies of the immigrant community in France should avoid lumping immigrants into one monolithic category (Wolff 14).