Gender, Age of Migration, and Cognitive Life Expectancies among Older Latinos: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Marc A. Garcia, Wassim Tarraf, Adriana M. Reyes, Chi Tsun Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Migration and gender are important factors that differentiate the Latino immigrant experience in the United States. We investigate the association between nativity status, age of migration, and cognitive life expectancies among a nationally representative sample of Latino adults aged 50 and older to explore whether age of migration and gender influence cognitive aging across the life course. Methods: This study used data from the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2016) to estimate Sullivan-based life tables of cognitive life expectancies by nativity, age of migration, and gender for older Latino adults. Cognitive status was based on the Langa-Weir algorithm. We test for both within-group (i.e., nativity and age of migration) and gender differences to explore the overall burden of disease among this rapidly growing population. Results: Foreign-born Latinos, regardless of age of migration or gender, spend a greater number of years after age 50 with cognitive impairment/no dementia than U.S.-born Latinos. However, the number of years spent with dementia varied by subgroup with midlife immigrant men and late-life immigrant men and women exhibiting a significant disadvantage relative to the U.S.-born. Furthermore, we document a gender disadvantage for all Latino women, regardless of immigrant status. Discussion: The robust relationship between nativity, age of migration, and cognitive aging suggests that older foreign-born Latinos experiencing cognitive decline may place serious burdens on families. Future research should target the needs of different subgroups of older Latinos who are entering their last decades of life to develop culturally appropriate long-Term care programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E226-E233
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive aging
  • Migration and the life course
  • Racial/ethnic data disaggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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