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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

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. OBJECTIVES 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 ageand 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 USand foreign-born Latinos. CONCLUSION 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1605-1618
Number of pages14
JournalDemographic Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

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