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Assimilation and Health: Evidence From Linked Birth Records of Second- and Third-Generation Hispanics

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  • Osea Giuntella

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

Abstract

Abstract This study explores the effects of assimilation on the health of Hispanics in the United States, using ethnic intermarriage as a metric of acculturation. I exploit a unique data set of linked confidential use birth records in California and Florida from 1970–2009. The confidential data allow me to link mothers giving birth in 1989–2009 to their own birth certificate records in 1970–1985 and to identify second-generation siblings. Thus, I can analyze the relationship between the parental exogamy of second-generation Hispanic women and the birth outcomes of their offspring controlling for grandmother fixed effects as well as indicators for second generation’s birth weight. Despite their higher socioeconomic status, third-generation children of second-generation intermarried Hispanic women are more likely to have poor health at birth, even after I account for second-generation health at birth and employ only within-family variations in the extent of assimilation. I find that a second-generation Hispanic woman married to a non-Hispanic man is 9 % more likely to have a child with low birth weight relative to a second-generation woman married to another Hispanic. These results largely reflect the higher incidence of risky behaviors (e.g., smoking during pregnancy) among intermarried Hispanic women.

Suggested Citation

  • Osea Giuntella, 2016. "Assimilation and Health: Evidence From Linked Birth Records of Second- and Third-Generation Hispanics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1979-2004, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:53:y:2016:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-016-0522-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-016-0522-6
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