The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Older Latino Mortality: The Rapidly Diminishing Latino Paradox

Rogelio Saenz, Marc A. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objectives: This brief report aims to highlight stark mortality disparities among older Latinos that result from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: We use recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to compute age-specific death rates (ASDRs) for 3 causes of death: deaths from COVID-19, residual deaths, and total deaths for 4 age groups (55-64, 65-74, 75-84, and 85 and older) to assess the impact of COVID-19 on older Latino mortality relative to non-Latino Whites and non-Latino Blacks and also in comparison to residual deaths. Additionally, we obtain ASDRs for all causes of deaths from 1999 to 2018 to provide a pre-pandemic context and assess the extent to which the consistently observed mortality advantage among Latinos persists during the pandemic. Results: Consistent with previous research, our findings show that Latinos have lower ASDRs for non-COVID-19 causes of death across all age groups compared to non-Latino Whites. However, our findings indicate that Latinos have significantly higher ASDRs for COVID-19 deaths than non-Latino Whites. Furthermore, although the Latino advantage for total deaths persists during the pandemic, it has diminished significantly compared to the 1999-2018 period. Discussion: Our findings indicate that as a result of the pandemic, the time-tested Latino paradox has rapidly diminished due to higher COVID-19 mortality among older Latino adults compared to non-Latino Whites. Future research should continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 to assess the disparate impact of the pandemic on older non-Latino Black, Latino, and non-Latino White adults as additional data become available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E81-E87
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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