Immigrant and Refugee Health

More than 1 billion people globally are immigrants, refugees, and migrants, which is 1 in 7 of the global population 1. Immigrants, refugees, and migrants are individuals who moved from one place to another. However, their reason for leaving (voluntarily or involuntarily) and the length of time they plan to stay in their new destination (temporarily or permanently) distinguishes them. Refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities, also known as RIM communities, are often unequally affected by economic, social, and other obstacles to health and healthcare.

Promoting Health Equity

CDC’s CORE commitment to Health Equity.

Learn more about CDC’s CORE commitment to Health Equity.

RIM communities include people from diverse regions of the world with different backgrounds and experiences. Immigrants, refugees, and migrants, especially if recently resettled in the U.S., may face many health disparities.

Factors leading to these disparities may include:

  • lack of health insurance
  • barriers to access to quality healthcare
  • workplace conditions
  • education
  • income and wealth gaps

Promoting health equity for immigrants, refugees, and migrants helps protect RIM populations and the communities they settle in.

Making a Healthier and Safer World

Black muslim mother holding her baby

CDC works to promote and improve the health of immigrants, refugees, and migrants globally. This helps prevent the importation of infectious diseases into the U.S. by:

CDC also works with partners to connect mobile populations with domestic resources to ensure a continuum of care that helps them live healthy, active, and productive lives in their new communities. Learn more about what community- and faith-based organizations, employers, healthcare systems and providers, public health agencies, policy makers, and others can do to promote fair access to health, improve opportunity, and ensure RIM communities thrive.

  1. World Health Organization (2022). Refugee and migrant health. Retrieved from