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Adult Mortality Differentials among Hispanic Subgroups and Non-Hispanic Whites


Hummer, Robert A.; Rogers, Richard G.; Amir, Sarit H.; Forbes, Douglas; & Frisbie, W. Parker (2000). Adult Mortality Differentials among Hispanic Subgroups and Non-Hispanic Whites. Social Science Quarterly, 81(1), 459-76.


Objective: The purpose of this paper is to explore the adult mortality experience of Hispanic subgroups in a comparative context with non-Hispanic whites (Anglos) in the most comprehensive manner to date. Methods: Using the National Health Interview Survey-Multiple Cause of Death linked data set for 1986 through 1995, we compare the mortality risks of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, Central/South Americans, and Other Hispanics with those of Anglos. Cox proportional hazards models are used to estimate the gross and net associations of ethnicity with overall, sex-specific, age-specific, and cause-specific mortality. Results: We find moderate overall differences across the Hispanic subgroups, with Puerto Ricans demonstrating the highest overall mortality compared with that of Anglos and Central/South Americans showing the lowest. There are age, sex, and cause-of-death mortality differences between the Hispanic groups and non-Hispanic whites. Most noteworthy are the elevated risks of young-adult mortality among most Hispanic subgroups vis-a-vis Anglos, and the lower risks of circulatory disease and cancer mortality exhibited by most Hispanic subgroups compared to Anglos. Conclusions: With a few notable exceptions, controlling for the complete set of mortality risk factors yields lower overall, sex-specific, age-specific, and cause-specific mortality for the Hispanic subgroups compared with that of non-Hispanic whites. Thus, the epidemiologic paradox - the combination of a high-risk sociodemographic profile and favorable mortality outcomes - applies to all Hispanic adult subgroups, although it is most striking among Mexican Americans.

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Journal Article

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Social Science Quarterly


Hummer, Robert A.
Rogers, Richard G.
Amir, Sarit H.
Forbes, Douglas
Frisbie, W. Parker

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