Recent growth of Latino immigration in the rural south resulted in a 337 percent increase in the Latino population in Arkansas from 1990 to 2000 (Broadwater 2001; U.S. Census Bureau 2000). The purpose of this study was to examine perspectives of both the established non-Hispanic resident and new immigrant Latino regarding the "accommodation" processes occurring and the inherent changes both groups experience. This paper describes a rural/urban comparison of two issues: 1) intergroup relations between new Latino immigrants and the established non-Hispanic resident population, and 2) utilization of healthcare services by Latinos. Methods for this study included key informant interviews, participant observation, and systematic open-ended interviews using free-listing questions with residents in three rural Arkansas communities. Although many of the intergroup relations in rural Arkansas were similar to published findings of urban communities, there were also signs of transformations in schools and business development. Access barriers to physicians and hospital services may be mediated more often in rural communities as compared to urban Latino experiences.

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