Employment, marriage, and inequality in health insurance for Mexican-origin women

Jennifer Karas Montez, Jacqueline L. Angel, Ronald J. Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In the United States, a woman's health insurance coverage is largely determined by her employment and marital roles. This research evaluates competing hypotheses regarding how the combination of employment and marital roles shapes insurance coverage among Mexican-origin, non-Hispanic white, and African American women. We use data from the 2004 and 2006 March Supplements to the Current Population Surveys. Results show that these roles largely substitute for each other among non-Hispanic white and African American women, although marriage generally increases the odds of coverage slightly more than employment among non-Hispanic white women. In contrast, these roles cumulatively increase those odds among Mexican-origin women. Yet neither employment, nor marriage, nor their combination assures their coverage. Married Mexican-origin women are particularly disadvantaged. As women increasingly spend a smaller fraction of their lives in marriage, and as relatively few women are in benefits-rich occupations, stable and equitable coverage may require a universal health insurance system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-148
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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