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Health Status of Older Immigrants in the United States

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  • Melonie P. Heron
  • Robert F. Schoeni
  • Leo S. Morales

Abstract

In light of increased immigration to the U.S. over the past thirty years, the authors objective is to examine the unique patterns of health status among immigrants aged 55 and over, using more detailed racial/ethnic categories than previously done. The authors explore health disparities within the immigrant population and between immigrants and natives of the same racial/ethnic group. Logistic regression is used to analyze data from the 1992-1995 National Health Interview Survey. Immigrants are less likely than natives to report an activity limitation or to be obese, but more likely than natives to report themselves in poor or fair general health. There are significant differences among immigrants arriving from different coutries and between immigrants and natives who are of the same race/ethnicity. For some groups and health measures, a large share of the differences are explained by disparities in socioeconomic status; however, for others, the majority of the differences remain after adjusting for education and income. Older immigrants are not a large enough share of the population, nor do they have distinct enough health status, to substantially alter the aggregate prevalence of health conditions in the total population. However, the diversity in health status within the immigrant population is enormous. These estimates can be used to target populations with especially high rates of obesity and limitations.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/drafts/2008/DRU2862.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 02-07.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:02-07

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  1. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  2. Angel, Ronald & Guarnaccia, Peter J., 1989. "Mind, body, and culture: Somatization among Hispanics," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 1229-1238, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Melonie P. Heron & Leo S. Morales, 2002. "Latino Health, Nativity and Socioeconomic Status," Working Papers 02-06, RAND Corporation Publications Department.

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