Socioeconomic Differences in Mortality among U.S. Adults: Insights into the Hispanic Paradox

Cassio M. Turra, Princeton University
Noreen Goldman, Princeton University

Despite a myriad of studies focused on social disparities in health, little is known about SES differentials in mortality among Hispanics. The authors use Poisson regression models based on data from the 1989-1994 waves of the NHIS, with linked mortality through 1997, to estimate death rates for Hispanics and whites by age, sex and SES. Deaths rates vary significantly by education and income for whites and for Hispanic subgroups defined by nativity and nationality. However, with the exception of Puerto Ricans, the effects of education are more modest for Hispanic groups than for whites. The ethnic differences in mortality patterns by income are less notable than those for education. The findings reveal that the mortality advantage for Hispanics is concentrated at lower levels of SES, with little or no advantage at higher levels. We propose several mechanisms that may underlie these patterns of mortality.

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Presented in Session 28: Socioeconomic Differentials in Health and Mortality