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Demography. 2015 Feb;52(1):1-14. doi: 10.1007/s13524-014-0357-y.

Hispanic older adult mortality in the United States: new estimates and an assessment of factors shaping the Hispanic paradox.

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Population Research Institute and Department of Sociology, Duke University, 271 Soc-Psyc Building, Campus Box 90088, Durham, NC, 27708, USA,


Hispanics make up a rapidly growing proportion of the U.S. older adult population, so a firm grasp of their mortality patterns is paramount for identifying racial/ethnic differences in life chances in the population as a whole. Documentation of Hispanic mortality is also essential for assessing whether the Hispanic paradox--the similarity in death rates between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites despite Hispanics' socioeconomic disadvantage--characterizes all adult Hispanics or just some age, gender, nativity, or national-origin subgroups. We estimate age-/sex- and cause-specific mortality rate ratios and life expectancy for foreign-born and U.S.-born Hispanics, foreign-born and U.S.-born Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic blacks, and non-Hispanic whites ages 65 and older using the 1989-2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality Files. Results affirm that Hispanic mortality estimates are favorable relative to those of blacks and whites, but particularly so for foreign-born Hispanics and smoking-related causes. However, if not for Hispanics' socioeconomic disadvantage, their mortality levels would be even more favorable.

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