Understanding Socioeconomic Gradients in Health in the U.S. Latino Population

Pamela J. Stoddard, University of California, Los Angeles

Health differentials between U.S. Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups are frequently characterized by the advantages or disadvantages that remain after controlling for socioeconomic indicators. This literature has given less attention to formal comparison of the significance and magnitude of health gradients between racial/ethnic groups. Recent research has found weak relationships between education and health for individuals of Mexican origin in comparison to non-Latino whites. This study investigates one potential explanation for this disparity: social gradients in health in Mexico may differ from those in the United States. The study uses data from the National Health Interview Survey to compare gradients for health behaviors for Mexican-origin individuals by age at immigration and duration of stay in the U.S. Weaker gradients among those who immigrated at older ages and those with shorter durations of stay in the U.S. would offer evidence of the influence of Mexican gradients on the health behaviors of Mexican Americans.

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Presented in Session 5: Demography of the U.S. Latino Population