Volume 38 - Article 52 | Pages 1605–1618

Sociocultural variability in the Latino population: Age patterns and differences in morbidity among older US adults

By Catherine Garcia, Marc A. Garcia, Jennifer A. Ailshire

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Date received:21 Nov 2017
Date published:15 May 2018
Word count:2232
Keywords:aging, health, health disparities, Latinos, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), United States
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2018.38.52
 

Abstract

Background: The US Latino population is rapidly aging and becoming increasingly diverse with respect to nativity and national origin. Increased longevity along with medical advancements in treatment have resulted in a higher number of older Latinos living with morbidity. Therefore, there is a need to understand variability in Latino health among older adults.

Objective: This paper documents mid- and late-life health differences in morbidity by race/ethnicity, nativity, and country of origin among adults aged 50 and older.

Methods: We use data from the 2000–2015 National Health Interview Survey to calculate age- and gender-specific proportions based on reports of five morbidity measures: hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes among non-Latino Whites and seven Latino subgroups.

Results: The foreign-born from Mexico, Cuba, and Central/South America, regardless of gender, exhibit an immigrant advantage for heart disease and cancer in comparison to non-Latino Whites across all age categories. Conversely, island-born Puerto Ricans are generally characterized with higher levels of morbidity. Similarly, US-born Puerto Ricans and Mexicans exhibit morbidity patterns indicative of their minority status. Latinos, regardless of gender, were more likely to report diabetes than non-Latino Whites. Hypertension and stroke have significant variability in age patterns among US- and foreign-born Latinos.

Conclusions: Recognizing the importance of within-Latino heterogeneity in health is imperative if researchers are to implement social services and health policies aimed at ameliorating the risk of disease.

Contribution: Considering intersectional ethnic, nativity, and country-of-origin characteristics among older Latinos is important to better understand the underlying causes of racial/ethnic disparities in morbidity across the life course.

Author's Affiliation

Catherine Garcia - University of Southern California, United States of America [Email]
Marc A. Garcia - University of Texas Medical Branch, United States of America [Email]
Jennifer A. Ailshire - University of Southern California, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» The role of education in the association between race/ethnicity/nativity, cognitive impairment, and dementia among older adults in the United States
Volume 38 - Article 6

» Age at migration and disability-free life expectancy among the elder Mexican-origin population
Volume 35 - Article 51

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